While coronavirus cases rebound across Europe, Sweden is enjoying record low numbers of infections and deaths despite months of scepticism about its lockdown-free strategy.
The Swedish comeback has now led Britain to remove the country from its quarantine list, opening the door to tourism in an economy which has already suffered a milder downturn than much of Europe. Sweden has flattened the curve without ordering its people to stay inside – keeping shops, schools and restaurants open even at the height of the pandemic and trusting Swedes to combat the virus by washing their hands and abiding by social distancing rules.
The Nordic country’s top epidemiologist has also played down the effectiveness of face masks and insisted that a full-scale lockdown would not have prevented care home deaths.
In recent weeks, some days have passed without a single new patient going into intensive care – compared to the dozens going into ICU every day in April. There were only six virus patients in Stockholm hospitals as of August 31 compared to 225 at the end of April, the local health authority Region Stockholm said.