Top health official defends Sweden’s ‘voluntary restrictions’ today, despite record number of new deaths

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DESPITE a record 185 new deaths in the last 24 hours, Sweden has no plans to go into total lockdown, with one health official defending the well-criticised decision.

Deputy State epidemiologist Anders Wallensten has today argued enforced confinement would cause untold financial damage and said people had accepted ‘voluntary restrictions’ well, claiming it is a better long-term option than a compulsory lockdown.

Today’s increase of 185 new fatalities is the largest surge yet, bringing the total number of deaths from 1,580 to 1,765.

But the country’s figures have wavered significantly over the last fortnight, with dubiously low figures released on Sundays (29 on April 19) and Mondays (40 yesterday) followed by a hike on Tuesdays, as has been seen today.

This is believed to be due to a backlog and delays in collecting figures from the weekend, an issue for most countries in Europe.

The number of Covid-19 infections in Sweden now stands at 15,322, with similar lows and surges after the weekend.

As well as defending the ‘more relaxed approach’ Sweden is taking to the coronavirus pandemic, Wallensten suggested that the peak may already have been reached, despite today’s figures.

Health experts believe that by May 1, up to a third of people living in the Stockholm – the hardest hit area – may already have had the virus, potentially limiting its spread.

Published by
Tara Rippin

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