Sweden's Coronavirus Landscape Worsens in December 2020

Opting for a "non-confinement" strategy for a long while, Sweden has been registering high cases of both infections and deaths in recent weeks.

Sweden is the 36th country in the world most affected by COVID-19 with a total of 320,000 coronavirus cases and over 7,500 coronavirus deaths since the start of the health crisis and until December 12. At first, Sweden's infection and death-related statistics were so "normal" that it decided not to repeat the confinement measures required in certain European countries. Its strategy was based on voluntary social distancing measures, which worked at first but transformed into a worrying trend as the days passed by.

The health-care system is already inundated

The hospitals are overcrowded in Stockholm, and Intensive Care Units (ICUs) are practically full of patients. According to a Reuters report, Bjorn Eriksson, the health care director for the Stockholm region, asked the government for more health personnel to alleviate the health crisis.

The director emphasized the acute need for help by referring to 83 intensive care patients receiving treatment in Stockholm. "That corresponds more or less to all intensive care beds we normally have," he said.

New measures on the way

To turn around the country's worsening situation, the Government has decided to prohibit alcohol sales after 10:00 PM and public gatherings of more than eight people. The institutes and higher education passed from Monday until the beginning of January to virtual education. The use of the mask is not mandatory due to "lack of scientific evidence," according to the Public Health Agency (FHM).

Despite the undesirable data, it seems that the Swedish Government still does not believe in a lockdown: "Lifting and closing things is bad for confidence and will also have many more negative effects than maintaining some level of measures all the time. Opening and closing schools, for example, would be disastrous", Anders Tegnell, Sweden's State Epidemiologist, had told the newspaper The Observer in August. The Guardian also cited Mr. Tegnell as he advised the UK not to reimpose lockdown measures to meet resurgences in coronavirus infections, claiming that this would be "really detrimental to trust" and "disastrous in many ways."

The situation gets more serious

The country's authorities described this Thursday as "very serious" the situation in the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, after registering a new record of infections. Sweden started to report several thousand coronavirus cases starting with October 27, with the number going as high as almost 8,000 on December 10.

Directorate-General for Social Affairs Iréne Nilsson-Carlsson from Social Affairs "We are uneasy about the situation, but not to the point that it is out of control. The ICUs are overloaded, and the staff has a lot of work, but we can expand the capacity."