Why Swedes are not yet locked down: „We’re used to keeping our distance“

As coronavirus pandemic has forced most countries in lockdown, Sweden has taken a conspicuously different response to the pandemic, with life largely continuing as normal and the government trusting in the public to adopt softer, voluntary measures.

While Sweden’s fellow Scandinavians and nearly all other Europeans are spending most of their time holed up at home under orders from their governments, Swedes last weekend still enjoyed the springtime sun sitting in cafés and munching pickled herrings in restaurants.

Swedish borders are open, as are cinemas, gyms, pubs and schools for those under 16. Restrictions are minimal: the government recommends frequent handwashing for all, working from home for those who can, and self-isolation for those who feel ill or are older than 70.

When someone on Qoura asked how do people in Sweden feel about the lack of restrictions relative to other countries, resident of Sweden Björn David Paulsen gladly elaborated.

„Well, as a Swedish resident, we seem to be mostly fine with it.

… before I go on, let’s head off some potential confusion. This is not something part of our “essence” or “Swedishness” or anything of the sort. Sweden is not boldly expressing some deeper, disease-proof Inherent Swedishness. It’s entirely possible that choosing this course of action may lead to a worse end than expected, though current indications are to the contrary. But the simple fact is, the current response to Covid-19 in Sweden is a policy grounded in long-term viability for Sweden. To do that, we need to take current conditions into account, and we mostly do.

We’re privileged. Our infrastructure allows us to keep a distance without limiting our lives. We’re used to keeping our distance. We’re used to working from home offices, and we’re quick to take a day off when symptoms emerge and to stay away, or even to stay at home when others are ill. We’re used to an infrastructure that supports people regardless of whether or not they are deemed immediately useful, so we don’t get noncompliant disease carriers roaming outside looking for subsistence“, wrote Paulsen .

There are currently more than 5500 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Sweden and 308 deaths,  according to Johns Hopkins University. Sweden also has the fifth highest death rate per capita, following Italy, Spain, France and the UK.

Yet Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell says the country’s relatively permissive policies are more sustainable in protecting people’s health amid the pandemic.

Although the government has now banned gatherings of more than 50 people, this excludes places like primary schools, restaurants and gyms which remain open. Restaurants, bars, cafés and nightclubs have been told to offer seated table service only.

Sweden’s government has advised working from home if at all possible, avoiding non-essential travel and the elderly are advised to stay home, writes 10daily.com

323 thoughts on “Why Swedes are not yet locked down: „We’re used to keeping our distance“

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