As of May 9, Sweden has admitted that its relaxed approached towards response to the novel coronavirus that resisted lockdown has resulted in failure to protect the elder community in the nursing and care homes, as per media reports. With a death toll that jumped to 3,000 with 90 per cent of victims over 70 the country had opted to ban the entry for the homecare visits, however, it hadn’t imposed drastic lockdown.
Sweden's ambassador to the US reportedly said that the elderly deaths in Sweden were a “big failure”. Karin Ulrika Olofsdotter was quoted saying, that 90 per cent fatalities that occurred due to the COVID-19 disease were above 70. Implying, that over 2,700 elderly people had died in the care homes because they were left vulnerable. Despite bans to visits and few restrictions, the toll continued to spike unabated, he said.
Sweden's top virologist Anders Tegnell was quoted saying that a full-scale lockdown might have proved to be effective as he admitted in a press conference that “more efforts” were needed. Tegnell added, 3,000 deaths alone in the nursing homes was a “horrifying” figure.
At least 99 deaths were registered in the past 24 hours, further, the case toll surged to 705 in the highest single-day record from the previous 702. The total number of confirmed cases now stood at an alarming 24,623 from 23,918 reported a day earlier, local media reported. However, in its defense, Swedish government representatives defended the country's strategy in its battle against the novel disease by striking comparison to many other countries. It said, Sweden “stood out” for the imposition of relaxed rules, according to reports.
"The difference between the approach in Sweden and in other countries is not very big. It's mainly the tone that we deal with," said Johan Carlson, General Director of Sweden's Public Health Agency. Rather than saying 'you need to stay at home, you're not allowed to do that and that' we are trying to explain to the population why this should be done, the reason for it and also the rationale for doing certain things," he added.
However, foreign minister Ann Linde said in a press briefing in Stockholm that she “dismissed” the idea that life must go on as normal in Sweden, calling it "a myth." So far, Sweden reportedly banned gatherings of 50 people or more, shuttered high schools and universities, further, it urged those over 70 or otherwise at greater risk from the virus to self-isolate at homes and restrict movement.
(With Agency Inputs)
(Image Credit: AP)