April 6, 2020 - 19:01 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Sweden’s government is drawing up new legislation to allow it to take “extraordinary steps” to combat Covid-19, local media have reported, amid concern that its relatively soft approach may be leading to a higher death rate than in other Nordic countries, The Guardian reports.
Denmark and Norway are among the many countries to have imposed tough lockdowns, closing borders and shutting schools and non-essential stores, and Finland has isolated its main urban area around Helsinki. But Swedes are still able to shop, go to restaurants, get haircuts and send children under 16 to class.
On Sunday, April 5, Sweden reported a total of 401 deaths so far from Covid-19, up 8% from Saturday and greater than the totals of its three Nordic neighbours combined. Sweden’s toll per million inhabitants is 37, compared with 28 in Denmark, 12 in Norway and 4.5 in Finland.
The state broadcaster SVT said on Sunday that after an outcry by opposition parties, the Social Democrat-led government had abandoned plans reported earlier in the weekend to rule by decree, bypassing MPs.
Under legislation to be tabled next week, the Riksdag, Sweden’s parliament, will now be consulted before the government takes any new emergency steps such as shutting airportsor train and bus stations, closing shops and restaurants, further limiting public gatherings or requisitioning medical equipment, according to SVT.
Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, has described the country’s coronavirus strategy as an attempt to ensure “a slow spread of infection and that the health services are not overwhelmed”, arguing that it is important for a part of the population to acquire immunity.
Tegnell acknowledged last week that Sweden’s infection curve was “starting to become somewhat steeper” but insisted that overall it was still “fairly flat”. Amid a sharp rise in cases in Stockholm, however, the capital is soon to open a field hospital with 140 beds, rising eventually to 600, in a convention centre.