Sweden recognizes that its approach to the coronavirus could have been better

La Suède reconnaît que son approche face au coronavirus aurait pu être meilleure

La Suède reconnaît que son approche face au coronavirus aurait pu être meilleure

The epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the public health Agency of sweden, at a press conference in Stockholm, Wednesday.

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June 3, 2020 8h36

Updated at 23h33

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Sweden recognizes that its approach to the coronavirus could have been better

Johannes Ledel

Agence France-Presse

STOCKHOLM — The Swedish epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, the public health Agency, acknowledged on Wednesday that the more flexible approach adopted by the scandinavian kingdom to contain the spread of the new coronavirus could be improved while continuing to defend it.

Anders Tegnell, often presented as the face of the strategy the Swedish fight against the virus, has defended the country’s decision not to impose confinement as in many european countries, but conceded that adjustments could be made at the option of the new information.

“If we were to experience the same disease with everything we now know about it, I think we would end up by doing something between Sweden and the rest of the world have done,” said the epidemiologist, on the airwaves of the public radio in sweden.

Wednesday, 40 803 cases of coronavirus had been detected in the country since the beginning of the crisis, and 4 542 people have died from the disease, according to health authorities, a death described by Mr. Tegnell as “really” too high.

The professional says, however, not be sure if the introduction of additional measures – and why – would have made the difference.

“It would be nice to know more precisely what must stop in order to better prevent the spread of infection,” he explained.

The scandinavian country has maintained open schools (for children under the age of sixteen years), cafes, bars, restaurants and businesses, asking everyone to observe the recommendations of social distancing and “take its responsibilities”.

The population has been encouraged to take work home, limit contact, and to wash their hands regularly.

The only major constraints, gatherings of more than 50 people have been prohibited, as are visits to the retirement homes.

“The strategy is good”

Interviewed later in the day during a press conference, Mr. Tegnell stressed that his remarks should not be interpreted as meaning that the public health Agency, or himself, doubted the strategy adopted.

“We are still of the opinion that the strategy is good, but there are always improvements to make, especially with the benefit of hindsight”, he explained to journalists.

The government continues to defend its model and talk of the relevant measures on the long-term, repeating in the media that the fight against the virus is a “marathon, not a sprint”.

This approach has led to a wave of criticism, both from within the country and outside, at a time when the number of deaths has greatly exceeded those of the neighbouring nordic countries, which have all imposed restrictive measures.

Anders Tegnell speaks of a vision “ambivalent” about Sweden abroad, and its approach to eliciting both praise and scorn.

“It has sometimes been perceived as a threat, as it could indirectly cast doubt on some of the measures are quite drastic taken,” according to the epidemiologist.

Questioned by the press agency, Swedish TT, he explained that the implementation of measures heavy “can also do more damage”.

“There is no direct correlation between doing a lot and be careful”, he judged. And further: “there is nothing that indicates that we would have got a result totally different if we had implemented more drastic measures”.

“Great Britain has done this, but has not resulted in a good outcome,” he said.

Le Soleil

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