Sweden’s Relaxed Strategy

at | 39 Replies

Kungstradgarden, Stockholm, Sweden yesterday

in Sweden, there are no enforced lockdowns, the economy remains open, and citizens are free to travel and enjoy the attractions..

However, it’s not business as usual, as Philip O’Connor, in Stockholm, Sweden, writes (full column at link below):

Sweden’s decision not to lock down its society has put it in the global spotlight.

Commentators and journalists are asking, not unreasonably, what the Swedes know that virtually every other country doesn’t, but to describe the situation in the Scandinavian nation of ten million as “business as usual” is not accurate; Sweden’s lockdown is imposed not on the state level, but at the individual, and the effect has been felt on every aspect of life.

While Norway and Denmark closed schools and in some cases closed borders, and insisted on quarantining those who had been abroad, Sweden took a much more low-key approach.

First, gatherings of over 500 people were banned, binning the possibility of ice hockey playoffs or starting the sports leagues that were due to get under way in the spring.

Workers who could were instructed to work from home, and those who don’t enjoy that luxury were told to stay at home if they displayed any symptoms whatsoever.

As the disease gradually spreads and the death toll rises, so too do the demands for individual responsibility; the size of gatherings has been cut from 500 to 50 and commuters have been asked not to use public transport at peak times.

Table service in bars has become the norm, and fast-food restaurants have taken to taping off seats and tables so that people do not sit too close together. S

hops have been told to restrict the numbers on their premises and that queues should be controlled to enable people to keep their distance.

But still some activities go on. In Vasaparken, not far from the Spice Of India Restaurant, the winter ice is long gone, and swarms of kids of all ages play football on the artificial turf at lunchtime, watched by teachers and youth workers in fluorescent vests….(more below)

Genius Or Gamble? Inside Sweden’s Covid-19 Crisis (Philip O’Connor, Our Man In Sweden)



39 thoughts on “Sweden’s Relaxed Strategy

    1. V

      Just under 6% (5.87%)
      our own with the full drama of a lockdown was 3.16% which is a significant difference in fairness

      While I wouldn’t be so sure of ours since our testing is still a fortnight behind, so I am expecting to see our Case numbers take a leap and that current 3.16% to contract

      Hopefully anyway
      Hon’ Ireland

    2. MaryLou's ArmaLite

      Cases does not matter as it depends on testing.

      Deaths per million of population is the one to keep an eye on.

      Sweden had a peak of 62 deaths, that may or may not be the peak, time will tell.

      1. V

        Well then cases do matter Amy

        If testing rocks up, so will the number of positive confirmed cases, which will increase the denominator
        and therefore reduce the % the virus took from us

        Jesus of course the number of confirmed cases matter, where do you think I get one of the numbers from

        1. MaryLou's ArmaLite

          Sorry my bad for not expanding properly, comparing cases rates between countries is misleading as they have very different testing strategies and coverage rates. So it does not give an accurate picture. It may be an indicator of the severity of a problem in a country, or it may hide the problem if they are not testing. Compare the numbers in ICU and deaths per million, this gives a far more accurate indication of the problem.

          Sweden just reported another 76 deaths, comfortably beating it’s previous peak.

      2. rolo

        And time will tell
        I have a sneaking suspicion that governments will start looking at the bottom line as seriously no one can afford to close down their country for a year and realise looking at Sweden that is sacrificing your economy in order to save your vulnerable a luxury you can afford

        Remember this is far worse than the banking crises and you simply cannot blame reckless spending by Ireland for this

        I would really feel sorry for those leaders who will have to make the decisions about this
        Get ready for one hell of a recession and a white knuckle ride when its all over

  1. Clampers Outside

    The same abuse the US and UK got for having initially taken this approach is not being dished out on Sweden… Why?


    1. paul

      their populace can be counted on to behave responsibly?

      I say this as someone who has, multiple times, had to steer a pram into long grass, cross the road and even turn around because people* walking towards me have refused to keep their social distance and filled paths, walked towards me or even bumped into me.

      *joggers, cyclists, adults, teenagers etc.

      1. Clampers Outside


        Was in Lidl, viewing a shelf barely two foot in front of me when an individual shuffled between myself and the shelf.
        It would have been rude in normal circumstances, never mind now… I bit my lip, and stepped back. No point in trying to reason with a gobpoo.

        1. scottser

          of course you can remind folks of the need for social distancing clamps. i’ve done it, and had it done to me – it’s more a cause for a laugh than for anyone to get miffed.
          last time i was in lidl i planted myself about 3 metres behind a guy at the till and some guy halfway down the aisle goes ‘there’s a queue here mate’. i roared laughing – the queue went all the way down the aisle and there was about 5 people in it.

        2. Termagant

          How long do you have to be in front of a shelf before you take what you need and go
          This is shopping, not lollygaggers central

      2. MaryLou's ArmaLite

        Excluding micronations, Sweden are in the top 10 for deaths per million of population. The Swedish model is a crock of poo.

    2. class wario

      We are far more exposed to the goings-ons in the UK and the US in both cases due to the lack of a language barrier, the global ubiquity of the latter and the fact the former are our neighbours.

      1. Clampers Outside

        That would only go a small way to explaining the anger at the chosen strategy, imo, as this is a world wide issue, and much anger/disbelief at either country wasn’t just seen from ourselves.

        Anyway, I was just curious, and that was a fair answer.

    3. Andrew

      Because its ‘da Brits’ and nasty Trump. Look over there don’t look here. Get your green jersey on etc.

      1. V

        3.57% of the population tested
        versus the Paddys 6.29% (coming up to double the amount of testing here lads)
        Whether they all have actually concluded with results is another question

        I know we are talking about whole human lives here, but I’m deliberately rounding to 2 dps as going into 4 5 6 doesn’t change the principal shape of the calc

  2. some old queen

    I have been speaking to someone who spends a lot of time in Stockholm about this. In her opinion, Sweden is very community focused and that people pride themselves on being good local citizens, which is for the most part- a self policing system.

    Ireland has some of that too, at least more than England. Ireland never had the whinging about closing businesses and people then swarming into parks. The few pubs who did break the lock down were publicly shamed and probably have done themselves harm for the future.

    Whether this approach works or not remains to be seen but if it does- it is a lesson for all of us.

  3. Harry M

    There was a fella living in Sweden who wrote a comment underneath an article on thejournal (i know) about the Swedish approach.

    His observations from living there many years was that they are so reserved they practice a form of self isolation anyway, especially when it comes to the elderly, almost all of which are lonely and without visitors in any case. It was very sad damning assessment, and i can’t say how accurate it might be.

    1. Rob_G

      This what I was thinking as well:

      From my limited experience in Nordic countries, they seem to be fairly dry and don’t socialise terribly much. Whereas Spanish and Italians live on terraces, and have much higher rates of infection – just a guess.

    2. Clampers Outside

      My brothers partner is Swedish… She’s posted on a number of occasions in our WhatsApp group, and I paraphrase…
      “W T F are they doing at home?!”

      She thinks it’s mad what’s going on :)

  4. ReproBertie

    Wait, I thought Sweden was a no go area being burned to the ground by gangs of military aged male refugees.

  5. diddy

    it’s good to see a nation going against the grain. I can see people here getting fed up when Easter comes and goes without any relaxation in imprisonment. what is the exit strategy? if we manage cases to 5 or less a day will Leo and the boys so what needs to be done, go against EU free movement of people principals are seal the borders until the rest of the world has beaten the virus… otherwise it’s a case of ” beatings will continue until morale improves” and I for one am sick of all this stick and no carrot

  6. Zaccone

    Sweden’s approach seems eminently sensible – engage in the low cost reduction measures like encouraging WFH, banning large gatherings etc, and tell everyone over 70 to self-quarantine. But don’t destroy the economy by quarantining the whole of society.

    They may have a slightly higher death rate from corona this month, but in the long run they’ll have saved far more lives. Lower suicides, more funding for health services in the future etc.

  7. Ringsend Incinerator

    Eight people admonished by the Gardai for sunbathing together at Dollymount Strand yesterday have contracted hypothermia.


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