Sweden and the coronavirus: changing course?

The Swedish government intends to strengthen the fight against the coronavirus. Thus, Prime Minister Stefan Leuven announced that henceforth in public places, citizens will be allowed to meet in the amount of eight people maximum. Previously, there was a different limitation: the upper limit was 50 people, and sometimes this criterion was raised to three hundred. For a long time, Sweden has followed a special path — the authorities did not impose severe restrictions, relying on the conscientiousness of citizens. The current change of course has caused a wide resonance in the press.

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Now politicians will decide

The fact that Prime Minister Leuven, rather than Chief Epidemiologist Tegnell, is now making statements on the epidemiological situation in the country, speaks of a paradigm shift, writes The Spectator:

“In Sweden, there was absolutely no such general freedom — no, people worked from home, avoided trips to the metro — and generally retired and isolated. However, they were not forced to do this by any police. Tegnell did not follow a herd immunity policy — and openly said he did not agree with this idea. He relied on citizens’ voluntary adherence to social distancing rules. … However, calls for the introduction of a lockdown were increasingly heard in the country’s parliament, and Leuven decided that he did not intend to take such big risks anymore. … If politicians now take over the reins of government in this area — bypassing Tegnell — then we can expect that in the future, and more severe restrictions.“

Do not ignore the experience of other countries

According to the newspaper Expressen, Sweden should take into account the example of Slovakia, which has used a system of rapid tests, and also generally take a closer look at the experience of other countries:

“It is becoming more and more obvious that when it comes to finding quick, cheap, and effective means and ways to combat the pandemic, the health department is not only not helping us, but, on the contrary, slowing down all processes. … Rapid tests, of course, cannot replace the so-called PCR tests, which are much more reliable. … But they can help identify asymptomatic carriers of the virus who are unaware that they are already infected. And the scale can be huge here, not least in nursing homes. … Sweden cannot afford to ignore the experience of other countries! “

Let’s put an end to the feudal fragmentation!

The state should expand its competencies in the field of healthcare, Svenska Dagbladet believes:

“Our healthcare sector is organized in such a way as if Sweden consists of 21 separate countries. The distribution of competences between different levels of political power is extremely blurred — during the pandemic, this was especially pronounced. In addition, the regions, in fact, sit on two chairs: they simultaneously order medical services — and perform them themselves. … Denmark and Norway have already reformed their health systems and can serve as role models for us. In both countries, the state has expanded its powers in the health sector. As a result, the waiting time for patients has been significantly reduced, and the level of quality of medical services in the country has leveled off.”

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