HALF of Sweden’s population could be infected with the coronavirus by the end of the month, an expert has claimed.
Daily life is carrying on as normal despite the rest of Europe being in lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, with pubs, schools, restaurants and cinemas all still open.
Crowds of shoppers continue to gather in central Stockholm
Bars remain open despite the coronavirus
Sweden has so far seen 4,947 cases of the coronavirus and 239 deaths as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
After a sharp rise in the death toll, the government has finally closed all ski resorts and advised the elderly to stay at home to limit the spread of coronavirus after concerned medics spoke out.
Now, Professor Tom Britton, from Stockholm University, who works with models of how infectious diseases behave in a population, has issued a dire warning.
“This is such an infectious disease that over half of Sweden’s population will be infected before the end of April,” reports Svt.se.
“After that, the spread of infection will not stop, but it will go slightly slower so that about two-thirds will be infected by the end of May.”
The country’s relaxed approach is causing concern among its neighbours
The relaxed approach has caused consternation in its Scandinavian neighbours – Denmark, Finland, and Norway.
They have all introduced a no-nonsense lockdown strategy, closing schools, workplaces and borders weeks ago.
The three countries combined death toll is less than Sweden’s.
“Watching Sweden is a bit like watching a horror movie, we fear it will go bad because it is so very open in Sweden and here it is more closed,” Danish journalist Lisbeth Davidsen told Swedish TV4.
A petition signed by more than 2,000 doctors, scientists, and professors in Sweden has now called on the government to get tough and tighten restrictions.
People chatting on the street in Stockholm while the rest of Europe remains in lockdown
Dozens of Swedes enjoy the sun at a terrace on a square in central Stockholm
Public transport is running as normal in Sweden amid the outbreak
Restaurants and bars are open as usual though with table only service
“We’re not testing enough, we’re not tracking, we’re not isolating enough – we’ve let the virus loose,” said Prof Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér, a virus expert at the Karolinska Institute.
“They are leading us to catastrophe.”
PM Stefan Lofven has tightened restrictions in recent days – limiting gatherings to 50 – but insists there is still no need to follow the herd.
His Social Democratic government has now issued guidelines urging citizens to avoid travelling in rush hour and visiting relatives over Easter, with the elderly to stay away from shops.
They also include a recommendation not to hold sports events such as football matches.
PM Lofven has argued citizens can be trusted to act responsibly and will stay indoors if they experience any symptoms.
“We all, as individuals, have to take responsibility. We can’t legislate and ban everything. It is also a question of common sense,” he has said.
“We who are adults need to be exactly that: adults. Not spread panic or rumours. No one is alone in this crisis, but each person has a heavy responsibility.”