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20 Oct, 2020 16:22

‘You don’t need to completely isolate any more,’ Sweden to tell elderly amid country’s relaxed handling of Covid-19

‘You don’t need to completely isolate any more,’ Sweden to tell elderly amid country’s relaxed handling of Covid-19

In its latest approach to the pandemic, Sweden plans to ease coronavirus restrictions for elderly citizens. The country’s state epidemiologist says the situation is less “dramatic” than in the rest of Europe.

With the exception of those over 70, Swedish citizens have faced few restrictions during the pandemic. Now, the government’s “priority” is to return normalcy to the lives of elderly Swedes, according to Anders Tegnell. In contrast to most of Europe, older Swedish residents are now being encouraged to emerge from their isolation and resume their lives.

“We would send the message to elderly people, you don’t need to completely isolate any more; we would send the same message to them that we do to the population in general,” he told BBC Radio 4's ‘Today’ program on Tuesday.

Cases in Sweden have been increasing over the last few weeks, but Tegnell insists that the government will lessen restrictions for the elderly “so they can live a bit more of a normal life, because I think that’s our main problem.”

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Tegnell also distanced himself from the controversial concept of herd immunity, saying that, far from being successful, it is proving to be “a really mixed picture.”

The Swedish state epidemiologist considers the infection increase to be less dramatic than in other parts of Europe. “A couple of weeks ago we had an increase of 20 percent from one week to the other; now we are down to five to six percent,” he said, adding that the capital area may be a cause for some concern, but that it is expected to stabilize.

Sweden has never faced a complete lockdown; schools, restaurants, and cafes have remained open throughout the pandemic, though life has not been without disruption.

According to the latest data from the Johns Hopkins University, Sweden now enters the list of top 20 countries with the highest death rate per capita (58.4 per 100,000 people). On Tuesday, authorities for the first time issued some strict local advice, for the region of Uppsala. People are urged to avoid public transport and social contact.

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