Amid coronavirus pandemic, Sweden is still open for business

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 25, 2020, 09.28 PM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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The government is even encouraging people to go outside for a nip of air.

In these extraordinary times when over 20 per cent of the population is under lockdown, Sweden goes its own way, keeping primary schools, restaurants and bars open.

The government is even encouraging people to go outside for a nip of air.

Sweden is far from unaffected by the coronavirus epidemic. As of now, a total of 2,526 people have been infected while over 40 people have died due to the novel coronavirus.

However, the Scandinavian country believes that its distinctive high-trust in public health agency will protect it from needing to shut down for the pandemic.

"Yesterday, Parliament adopted, after a record fast process, a law that gives the government the mandate and preparedness, if necessary, to close schools and pre-schools. I'd like to emphasise that currently, it's not on the table to close pre-schools and primary schools," Education minister Anna Ekstrom said on Tuesday.
 
Stockholm's coronavirus efforts stand out as markedly measured and the government's commitment to go its own way in combating it.

Two weeks after the country’s public health agency raised the risk level of the spread of the virus to "very high," there are no compulsory quarantines or shutdowns of restaurants, bars and public spaces.

While there is a ban on public gatherings, the 500-person limit is more generous compared to Britain and Germany where the limit is set to two people.

This stands in stark contrast to the urgent tone elsewhere and has sparked a heated debate whether Sweden is really doing the right thing.

Life is at a standstill in most European Union countries which have by now arrived at the same lockdown strategy in a battle against the coronavirus while Sweden continues as normal.

However, with the number of infections on the rise, whether Sweden will stay the course remains to be seen.