Sweden records its lowest number of covid cases since March with just 108 after country did not impose lockdown
- Sweden’s seven-day average for coronavirus was 108 as of Tuesday
- The figure is its lowest since March 13 when it decided not to impose lockdown
- France, Spain, the UK and the Czech Republic all have higher case numbers
The Scandinavian country, which was initially criticised for not implementing a lockdown, is now seeing significantly fewer cases than other European hotspots.
Its rolling seven-day average stood at 108 on Tuesday, its lowest number since March 13.
Sweden has recorded its fewest daily cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic’s peak in March
Stockholm, pictured in May when the rest of Europe was in the grips of lockdown, opted for a light approach
Its seven-day average for coronavirus-related deaths is zero.
Only 1.2 per cent of Sweden’s 120,000 tests last week came back positive, date from their national health agency shows, according to The Guardian.
Their 14-day accumulative total of new cases is 22.2 for every 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 279 in Spain, 158.5 in France, 118 in the Czech Republic, 77 in Belgium and 59 in the UK.
All those countries imposed lockdowns in the grips of the pandemic in March but Sweden opted for a lighter approach which now appears to be paying off.
It is even outperforming its Scandinavian neighbours, Norway and Denmark, suggesting their approach may have helped them in the long term.
The Scandinavian country, which was initially criticised for not implementing a lockdown, is now seeing significantly fewer cases than other European hotspots
Sweden kept open schools for children under 16, banned gatherings of more than 50 people and told over-70s and vulnerable groups to self-isolate.
Shops, bars and restaurants stayed open throughout the pandemic and the wearing of masks has not been advised by the government.
In Sweden, the death rate has been falling steadily since April despite a peak of cases in the summer – with the country’s top epidemiologist saying that deaths can be kept low without drastic lockdown measures.
France recorded its highest-ever spike in cases with more than 10,000 on Saturday, but deaths are nowhere near the mid-April peak and the country’s PM says it must ‘succeed in living with this virus’ without going back into lockdown.
Current infection rates in Europe according to the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC), with Spain and France among the worst-affected countries in the recent rebound
In the United States, cases surged to record levels in July and August after the first wave had receded – but death rates in summer hotspots such as Texas and Florida were well below those in New York City where the virus hit hardest in the spring.
Cases reached their height in Sweden in the second half of June, when some days saw more than 1,000 infections – but the death toll continued to fall regardless.
Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who has become the face of the no-lockdown strategy, said in a recent interview that voluntary hygiene measures had been ‘just as effective’ as complete shutdowns.
‘The rapidly declining cases we see in Sweden right now is another indication that you can get the number of cases down quite a lot in a country without having a complete lockdown,’ he told Unherd.
Tegnell added that ‘deaths are not so closely connected to the amount of cases you have in a country’, saying the death rate was more closely linked to whether older people are being infected and how well the health system can cope.
‘Those things will influence mortality a lot more, I think, than the actual spread of the disease,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Swedish economic activity has started to pick up and the effects of the downturn look less severe than previously feared.