Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven
© JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images
Sveriges statsminister Stefan Löfven
Sverige har stort set været det eneste land i verden, der har reageret på coronavirus ved hjælp af et frivilligt system: rådgivning snarere end at instruere offentligheden. Men dette har ændret sig i dag, da premierminister Stefan Löfven sagde, at han vil vedtage en lov for at indføre et forbud mod samlinger på otte personer eller mere. 'Gør din pligt. Gå ikke i gymnastiksalen, gå ikke på biblioteket, hold ikke fester. Kom ikke med undskyldninger, der gør din aktivitet OK, 'sagde han på en pressekonference. 'Det er dine og mine valg - hver eneste dag, hver eneste time, hvert eneste øjeblik - der nu vil afgøre, hvordan vi styrer dette.'

At høre fra Löfven overhovedet om Covid er usædvanligt: ​​indtil videre har statsepidemiolog Anders Tegnell været ansigtet for dets Covid-svar. Tegnell virker ikke imponeret. 'Dette er regeringens beslutning, når det kommer til, hvor mange mennesker der kan samles,' sagde han til svensk radio tidligere i dag. 'Det er ikke os, der sætter foden ned.' Faktisk afskaffede hans folkesundhedsagentur for nylig ekstra restriktioner for dem over 70, idet skaden forårsaget af ensomhed og isolation opvejer risikoen fra virussen. Den afviste obligatorisk nedlukning og sagde, at bivirkningerne ville være for store, og folk ville - hvis de blev bedt om - gøre det rigtige. Dette på trods af det faktum, at Sverige blev ramt langt værre end sine nordiske naboer og var oppe på niveau med Storbritannien, når det drejer sig om dødsfald pr. Indbygger. Indtil for et par uger siden så det ud som om det ikke havde ret meget problem med anden bølge.

Men nu rammer den anden bølge Sverige hårdt. Fredrik Elgh, professor i virologi ved Umeå Universitet, fortalte for nylig SVT, at indlæggelser i Sverige er to uger fra at overgå toppen af ​​den første bølge. Dette skaber politisk pres - som Tegnell har tendens til ikke at reagere på.


Kommentar: Total BS. Det rammer ikke Sverige 'hårdt'. Delvist oversat af Sott.net fra
Swedish PM gives in, institutes 'rule of 8' Covid restriction - and other lockdown news


Sweden has been tightening in stages. On 22 October it imposed a 50 person limit on public gatherings, with 300 on concerts and sporting events. Last week, the government proposed a 10 p.m. pub curfew. The week before, a rule of eight was imposed in restaurants - but some Swedes have getting around it by hiring in a c and categorising their dinner as a music concert. This hardened government suspicion that Swedes are not taking the advice seriously enough. Anna Ekstrom, the education minister, has even said that 'should it be needed, we will not hesitate to close the schools.' In the first wave, Sweden was alone in Europe in keeping schools open up to sixth form.

There never was a Swedish free-for-all: people worked from home, avoided the tube and hunkered down. But this was not enforced by the police. Tegnell did not pursue a herd immunity policy and explicitly rejected the idea. He wanted voluntary distancing because lockdowns cause too much damage on public health. Sweden's economy is expected to contract by 3.4 per cent this year, which would be the smallest downturn in Europe. Its non-Covid excess deaths have been lower than countries who locked down. Most children under 17 didn't miss a day of school. This — rather than minimising Covid at all costs — was the aim. But its per capita Covid deaths, so far, have been higher than any of its neighbours in the second wave. And almost as high as Britain.


Comment: And yet still, there is no signal for excess deaths in the country. Hmm.


In Sweden's parliament, there has been far more of a clamour for lockdown measures and Löfven has decided he no longer wants to take the risk. The new rule of eight is still more liberal than most of Europe: it doesn't apply to office, house parties, funerals etc. For all of his talk, Löfven isnot banning parties, private dinners etc. Yet. His Rule of Eight will last for four weeks, but professor Elgh and others are pushing for more, saying Belgium and the Czech Republic seem to have beaten back the virus using various lockdown techniques. If Sweden's politicians are now in charge - with Tegnell bypassed - more restrictions may soon be on the way.