Sweden is reportedly debating local lockdowns to stop the spread of Covid-19 – after months of resisting the measure.
The number of cases has increased dramatically in the past 14 days. 970 were confirmed on Thursday – the highest since June.
The country’s approach to the pandemic has been controversial as businesses and schools have stayed open non-stop despite advising citizens to adhere to social distancing rules.
According to Johns Hopkins University, which measures global data on the pandemic, the country has the 12th highest death rate in the world at 58.4 per 100,000 people.
This is ten times the number in neighboring Norway and Finland, although it is slightly below the 64.1 per 100,000 in the UK.
Sweden, with a population of just over 10 million, has recorded 5,918 deaths since the pandemic began.
Now authorities are pushing for local lockdowns as questions continue to be asked about the country’s approach.
Johan Nojd, head of the Infectious Disease Department in Uppsala City, said The telegraph : “It is more of a blocking situation – but a local blocking.”
According to reports, starting tomorrow, health officials will urge people to stay away from shopping malls, gyms, libraries and museums.
Despite increasing urgency from health authorities, these restrictions will not be legally enforceable and no fines will be imposed.
Please Brastad, Chief Legal Officer of the Swedish Health Service, described the move as “something between regulations and recommendations”.
However, experts warn that further measures could follow.
Senior epidemiologist Anders Wallensten claimed the country had “some immunity as a result of our management” but denied that “herd immunity” has always been the target.