Today practically most of the planet lives confined, but not here in Sweden where we maintain a relatively normal rhythm of life. At least, much more normal than that of most of our European neighbors.
Our internationally well criticized social democratic government has not ordered the confinement of the population, nor has it decreed the closure of schools, restaurants, bars or businesses. It is not that everything continues as if nothing had happened. In the universities and high-schools there are no face-to-face classes, there are also many like me who work from home and we can also see the users of public transport have been reduced somehow. But the children keep going to school and playing in the parks, the restaurants and bars are kept open and, if you want, you can even go to the gym, the cinema, the theater or if you so wish, spend the weekend at a ski-resort.
To be honest nobody, knows for sure which path our government has based its strategy upon. Or if they even have a strategy to begin with. Beside some few recommendations and a lot of confidence in the good judgment of citizens. Our authorities of just over 10 million inhabitants have focused on trying to avoid infection among risk groups, especially the elderly. But, at the same time, it encourages healthy and young citizens to continue with their lives, to go out into the streets to enjoy the long-awaited spring sun. Of course, with some few recommendations such as washing hands and keeping the safety distance. Concentrations of more than 50 people have also been banned (until recently, the limit was 500). The Swedish government recently introduced new guidelines, such as banning visits to nursing homes. A measure that, however, is far too late – as in Stockholm, where I live, a third of these facilities – at least – have already registered infections and deaths, something that the authorities have recognized as a failure – a failure that cost the life of many of our elderly – lives that could have been saved if proper measures had been put in place at the very right beginning.
So far we can conclude that our Swedish government’s strategy contrasts with that of the rest of our Nordic neighbors. Denmark and Norway, or even Finland for example, were among the first in Europe to close schools and part of businesses, shortly after Italy did. These early measures have allowed them to delay for the moment more radical confinement, and could as well be the reason behind the so few deaths registered in these countries.
Unfortunately and yet today, our Swedish government resists despite the criticism and that the upward curve of infected and deceased by the Covid-19 has begun to take a serious run. So far, our country records far more deaths than Finland, Denmark, and Norway combined.