Coronavirus commission: Sweden has failed

In a TV interview, Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf has described his country's coronavirus strategy as a failure. Sweden's independent coronavirus commission had previously issued a harsh judgment with its first report, saying that Sweden had not sufficiently protected the elderly and that the areas of responsibility had not been clarified. Commentators for the most part agree.

Open/close all quotes
Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

Pandemic has exposed failed integration

So far, an above-average number of elderly people in care facilities, but also residents with an immigrant background, have died from coronavirus in Sweden. Göteborgs-Posten sees a correlation:

“The lacking integration [and resulting poor language skills of nursing staff] are one reason why we failed so miserably when it comes to the main goal of protecting the elderly. Is it the immigrants' fault that so many have died? No. But very much that of our failed integration policies. Large groups live in Sweden without ever becoming part of our society. They don't understand the language, the culture or what is expected of them. And the majority society hardly makes any demands. ... There will be more pandemics and the next one may be many times deadlier. How many more must die before we realise that those who live in Sweden must also be part of our society?”

Handelsblatt (DE) /

Government still dithering in the battle against the pandemic

For Handelsblatt's Stockholm correspondent Helmut Steuer it's clear why the government failed:

“Areas of competence were never made clear, and those who were responsible were afraid to act accordingly. The social democratic minority government has been hiding behind the Public Health Agency and its chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell since the beginning of the pandemic. ... To this day Tegnell does not recommend wearing mouth and nose protection, on the grounds that it gives the wearer a false sense of security. And despite the catastrophic infection rates he still insists that things are under control. ... In the summer the government neglected to extend an emergency law that would have enabled a lockdown. It's now in the works, however it can't be adopted until the spring. In view of the current infection rates, that will be too late.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Improving elderly care is the top priority

Aftonbladet calls for swift action to protect high risk groups:

“The government's first measure must be to grant more resources for care for the elderly, also in the longer term. This area needs more staff and more training opportunities. The second priority is to create the national overview that was missing in the spring. Sitting in Stockholm and puzzling over the situation in the municipalities just doesn't work. ... A responsible government must also review whether the administrative arrangement with the 21 regions and 290 municipalities is really optimal, both in times of crisis and in everyday life.”

Mediafax (RO) /

The press wants to see Sweden fail

Adrian Onciu of news website Mediafax finds the international criticism of Sweden exaggerated:

“Not a single day passed without the gravediggers in the mass media casting doubt on epidemiologist Tegnell's strategy. They flaunted the statistics nonstop, just to make it clear beyond any doubt that 'the Swedes are fools'! ... That they didn't know how to defeat the pandemic and were behaving like Nazis, mercilessly abandoning their elderly and the vulnerable to the virus. ... These gravediggers have been waiting for the collapse of Sweden as if it were a blessing from heaven since the start of the pandemic. But so far they have had no choice but to manipulate public opinion with the help of politicians and to distort the truth with incomplete statistics taken out of context.”