Covid strategy: what changes should Sweden make?
Sweden's government is intensifying the measures against coronavirus. No more than eight people will be allowed to gather in public, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has announced. Up to now the upper limit had been 50 and in some cases 300 people. For a long time, Sweden went its own way with relatively lax measures and appeals to people's common sense rather than rules. This change of course is therefore attracting a lot of attention.
Politicians taking the helm
We are now hearing from Sweden's prime minister instead of state virologist Anders Tegnell, The Spectator notes:
“There never was a Swedish free-for-all: people worked from home, avoided the tube and hunkered down. But this was not enforced by the police. Tegnell did not persue a herd immunity policy and explicitly rejected the idea. He wanted voluntary distancing ... In Sweden's parliament, there has been far more of a clamour for lockdown measures and Löfven has decided he no longer wants to take the risk. ... If Sweden's politicians are now in charge - with Tegnell bypassed - more restrictions may soon be on the way.”
Time to listen to others
Sweden should follow Slovakia's example and adopt rapid tests, Expressen recommends, noting that in general the Swedes should be more willing to learn from other countries:
“It is becoming more and more obvious that the health authorities are not a help but a hindrance when it comes to fast, cheap and effective means of containing infections. ... Rapid tests are no substitute for so-called PCR tests, which are far more reliable. ... But they are especially useful for tracking down people who do not show any symptoms and do not yet suspect that they are infected. The potential is enormous, not least in geriatric care. ... Sweden cannot afford to be so disinterested in what other countries are doing.”
Enough of 21 different recipes
Sweden needs more centralised state responsibility, Svenska Dagbladet insists:
“The way our health system works, you'd think Sweden consisted of 21 different countries. The division of responsibilities between the various political levels is unclear - the pandemic has shown this very clearly. What's more, the regions are also wearing two hats, as they both order and implement medical services. ... Denmark and Norway have reformed their healthcare systems and could serve as inspiration. In both countries, the state has taken on more responsibility for healthcare. This has resulted in shorter waiting times and more equitable treatment across the country.”