Christy Cooney updated: 30 Jul 2020, 8:42
SWEDEN is seeing a “very positive” decline in coronavirus cases following a controversial decision not to go into lockdown, its top epidemiologist has said.
Andres Tegnell called current trends “promising” and said he saw “no point” in asking people in the country to wear a face mask.
Sweden has been an outlier in its response to the coronavirus and, unlike most countries around the world, never imposed a full lockdown.
People have been asked to work from home where possible, avoid unnecessary travel, and socially distance.
The government also banned gatherings of more than 50 people, banned visits to nursing home, and closed secondary schools and universities.
Bars and restaurants have continued to operate in Sweden during the pandemic
Primary schools have stayed open, in part to ensure more healthcare workers could continue going to work.
At the peak of the outbreak, the country was seeing 1,800 cases of coronavirus diagnosed per day, but that figure has now fallen into double digits.
There has been speculation that the lighter-touch approach will allow Sweden’s population to develop “herd immunity”, but the extent to which recovered coronavirus patients enjoy immunity remains uncertain.
Speaking to reporters in Stockholm on Tuesday, Tegnell said: “The curves go down, and the curves over the seriously ill begin to be very close to zero.
“As a whole, it is very positive.”
He also addressed the question of face masks, which the World Health Organisation continues to recommend people use when social distancing isn’t practicable.
“With numbers diminishing very quickly in Sweden, we see no point in wearing a face mask in Sweden, not even on public transport,” he said.