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Swedish Scientist Admits He Got It Wrong In Not Advising Stricter Lockdown Measures

Swedish Scientist Admits He Got It Wrong In Not Advising Stricter Lockdown Measures

Sweden's leading epidemiologist has admitted that he may have got it wrong in not advocating stricter lockdown measures.

Anders Tegnell said that if a similar pandemic were to happen in the future, he would change his advice on what action to take.

It comes as Sweden's death toll from Covid-19 edges toward 5,000. Fellow Scandinavian countries Denmark, Norway and Finland, which all implemented much more comprehensive versions of lockdown, recorded just over 1,000 deaths between them.

Speaking to Sveriges Radio today (3 June), Mr Tegnell said: "Should we encounter the same disease, with exactly what we know about it today, I think we would land in doing midway between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world did.

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"I think there is potential for improvement in what we have done in Sweden, quite clearly."

However, despite the admission that things could have been done differently, the scientist said it is difficult to know which specific measures within the policy of lockdown have been responsible for fewer deaths.

Anders Tegnell said he would change his approach to lockdown if a future, similar pandemic hit Sweden. Credit: PA
Anders Tegnell said he would change his approach to lockdown if a future, similar pandemic hit Sweden. Credit: PA

He added: "Maybe we will get to know that now when you start removing measures one by one, and perhaps that will teach us some kind of lesson about what else, besides what we did, you could do without a full lockdown."

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When the outbreak began earlier this year, Swedish authorities decided to avoid a full-scale lockdown similar to the one introduced in the UK.

Instead the government placed a 50-person limit on groups and closed schools for the over-16s. Meanwhile shops, restaurants and gyms remained open, and people were advised rather than ordered to avoid non-essential travel.

According to the Guardian, Sweden recorded the most Covid-19 deaths per capita in the world over the seven days leading up to 2 June, with more then 4,400 having tragically died.

People in Sweden have not had to undergo the same lockdown measures as other nations. Credit: PA
People in Sweden have not had to undergo the same lockdown measures as other nations. Credit: PA
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And with mounting criticism over the government's handling of the crisis, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven this week announced that an inquiry was being launched into it.

A commission was always set to look into the pandemic once it was over, but Mr Lofven said it would happen sooner than previously stated.

He said: "We need to take an overall approach to see how it has worked at national, regional and local levels. We will make a decision for a commission before the summer."

Conversely, the Norwegian Prime Minister Prime Minister Erna Solberg admitted she took the decision to put the country in full lockdown 'out of fear' and that it may not have been necessary.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Science, World News, Coronavirus, Health

Dominic Smithers

Dominic graduated from the University of Leeds with a degree in French and History. Like you, Dom has often questioned how much use a second language has been. Well, after stints working at the Manchester Evening News, the Accrington Observer and the Macclesfield Express, along with never setting foot in France, he realised the answer is surprisingly little. But I guess, c'est la vie. Contact us at [email protected]