The Scandinavian country is the only country in Europe not to have imposed lockdowns — even though its death toll is actually worse than the USA, Iran and Germany per head of population.
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Sweden has controversially allowed schools for under-16s, cafes, bars, restaurants and businesses to stay open, although it has been urging people and businesses to respect social distancing.
The country’s deputy state epidemiologist Anders Wallensten said a week ago “the peak was reached” on April 15, Reuters reported.
But the Swedish statistics office has now released data showing that in the week ending April 12, 2,505 people died.
This is almost 150 more deaths than the highest death rate in one week, which was 2,364 dead the first week of 2000, it said.
Statistics Sweden says the deaths are concentrated in the capital Stockholm.
During weeks 14-16 this year the number of deaths in the city has been more than twice as high as the corresponding weekly average from 2015–2019.
“It is important to clearly state that these are preliminary statistics and that the death toll will be revised upwards,” warned Statistics Sweden’s Tomas Johansson
Recent good spring weather has seen Swedes gathering in outdoor bars and restaurants while parks have been packed despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
Restaurants and bars are only allowed to provide table service, with tables spaced one to two metres apart.
Five Stockholm bars and restaurants after they were found failing to meet social distancing guidelines.
Sweden’s government says it’s more relaxed approach is a better long-term strategy because people will accept the looser restrictions for longer.
But it is a move which has sparked a fierce debate in Sweden and among the wider scientific community with some medics warning "will lead to catastrophe."
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, however, said it was “hard to understand” how a lockdown like elsewhere in Europe and America would have halted the Covid-19 spreading into nursing homes.
The professor also claimed as many as 20 per cent of Stockholm residents may already have had the virus.
“We believe that we have an immunity level, if I remember rightly, somewhere between 15 to 20 per cent of the population in Stockholm,” he said.
"[This is] not complete herd immunity but it will definitely affect the reproduction rate and slow down the spread."
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