Tag Archives: Sweden

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson

This afternoon.

Stockholm, Sweden.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said her country’s decision on whether to apply for membership of NATO would be made within “weeks, not within months.”

“We need to have a view on the future and we are using this time to analyze and also build common views on the future when it comes to security,” Marin said. “I won’t give any kind of timetable when we will make our decisions, but I think it will happen quite fast. Within weeks, not within months.”


Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson told the news conference that “the security landscape has completely changed” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and “given this situation we have to really think through what is best for Sweden and our security and our peace in this new situation.”

“This is a very important time in history. There is a before and after 24th of February,” Andersson said, referring to the date Russia’s invasion began. “We have to have a process in Sweden to think this through.”

Putin’s bullying backfires as Finland and Sweden edge closer to joining NATO (CNN)







From top: Dr Johan Giesecke; Michael McNamara TD

This morning/afternoon.

Oireachtas Special Covid-19 Response Committee meeting.

Further to testimony from Dr Johan Giesecke, former chief epidemiologist in Sweden…

….Dr Giesecke was asked what a “soft lockdown” would entail compared to a hard lockdown.

He said:

“There’s no law telling people to stay at home and the police will not pick you up on the street when you shouldn’t be on the street. It is telling people what they should do with distancing, with handwashing, with staying home and so on, self-isolation if you feel sick.

“And you can actually estimate that the number of, in March, mid-March, when the Government introduced these measures, you could calculate that the number of potentially infectious contacts between people in Sweden dropped by 70%, just voluntary, no law.

People did what they were asked to do and they have continued, one thing that’s good with the Swedish strategy is that we haven’t changed anything for the six months whereas other countries are going in and out of lockdowns and restrictions, and which countries you can fly to and which countries you can not fly to.”

Asked how would Covid-19 be allowed to circulate among under-60s yet prevent its transmission to people over-60 and in care homes, Dr Giesecke said:

“Like Professor [Kirsten] Schafer [President of the Irish Society of Clinical Microbiology] said, there is no 100 per cent way to do that but there is a lot you can do to minimise the risk of introduction of the virus in care homes. Over.”


….Chair of the committee and Independent TD Michael McNamara asked Dr Giesecke if he agreed with the assertion that immunity levels in Sweden are currently no greater than other European states – despite Sweden allowing the virus to circulate more than those states.

Dr Giesecke replied:

“No, I think immunity levels are higher in countries where you had circulation.”

Asked about the efficacy of mask-wearing in all public settings, Dr Giesecke said that he agreed with Dr Tomás Ryan of the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin that social distancing is more important than masks (Dr Ryan also said Ireland should have greater levels of mask wearing, and that mask wearing in all indoor environments should be promoted).

Dr Giesecke then had this exchange with Mr McNamara.

Michael McNamara: “Are masks compulsory in Sweden?”

Dr Giesecke: “No.”

McNamara: “Are they worn generally in schools?”

Dr Giesecke: “No.”

McNamara: “But do you think it would be beneficial if they were worn more?”

Dr Giesecke: “I think the scientific evidence to support mask wearing are very thin.”

Finally, each speaker was offered the chance to give their final thoughts to the committee about responding to Covid-19. Dr Giesecke said:

“Two things. Watch out for undemocratic decisions that are using emergency legislation in the case where it may not be needed. That’s number one. Number two is this will be with us for a long time. We will have to learn to live with this virus. Unless a very good vaccine comes out before Easter which I doubt. Thanks for inviting me.”

Earlier: Herdy Gurdy

Dr Johan Giesecke, Sweden’s former chief epidemiologist, addressing the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response this morning.

This morning.

As Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronan Glynn warns  that Covid-19 is spreading ‘disproportionately‘ among younger people…

…a Swedish expert will tell the Oireachtas Special Committee on Covid-19 Response that controlled spread of the coronavirus should be allowed among people aged under 60.

Via RTÈ:

In his opening statement, Dr Johan Giesecke, former chief epidemiologist in Sweden, will say Ireland should concentrate on the old and frail with frequent testing of staff and residents in care homes. He will tell politicians that we should wait at least a year to start comparing countries’ Covid-19 strategies.


Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, [Covid Committee Chairman] Mr [Michael] McNamara said that two counties – Offaly and Kildare – may face further restrictions after already having an additional three weeks of restrictions, which begs the question as to the success of the original measures taken.

Lockdowns are not inevitable, he said, adding that we need to consider is it possible to shield the vulnerable from the virus while allowing society to move and to operate more normally.

Controlled spread of Covid-19 an option, Swedish expert to tell committee (RTÉ)

THESE are Northern Lights.

A spectacular aurora captured outside Östersund in Sweden in 2016. To wit:

Six photographic fields were merged to create the featured panorama spanning almost 180 degrees. Particularly striking aspects of this aurora include its sweeping arc-like shape and its stark definition. Lake Storsjön is seen in the foreground, while several familiar constellations and the star Polaris are visible through the aurora, far in the background. Coincidently, the aurora appears to avoid the Moon visible on the lower left. The aurora appeared a day after a large hole opened in the Sun’s corona allowing particularly energetic particles to flow out into the Solar System. The green colour of the aurora is caused by oxygen atoms recombining with ambient electrons high in the Earth’s atmosphere.

(Image: Göran Strand)


Stockholm, Sweden last Saturday; Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert


Where adults are treated like adults.

“I think there’s a perception out that Sweden has not put in control measures and just has allowed the disease to spread. Nothing can be further from the truth.”

[instead of lockdowns] ‘the country has put in place a very strong public policy around social distancing, around caring and protecting people in long term care facilities.

What it has done differently is it has very much relied on its relationship with its citizenry and the ability and willingness of its citizens to implement self-distancing and self-regulate. In that sense, they have implemented public policy through that partnership with the population.”

Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organistaioon yesterday.

WHO lauds lockdown-ignoring Sweden as a ‘model’ for countries going forward (New York Post)

Previously: Philip O’Connor: Sweden’s Relaxed Strategy


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)