'We have failed' over COVID-19, says Sweden's King as deaths mount

WION Web Team
Stockholm Published: Dec 18, 2020, 09:21 AM(IST)

FILE PHOTO: Swedish King Carl Gustaf and Queen Silvia pose at the Royal Castle in Stockholm, Sweden December 3, 2020. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

It is a  rare intervention from a monarch whose duties are largely ceremonial

Sweden's King criticised his country's handling of COVID-19 pandemic and lashed out at the pandemic policy saying 'we have failed'. There is a high death toll among the elderly citizens in Sweden.

Carl XVI Gustaf, whose son and daughter-in-law tested positive last month, used an annual royal Christmas TV special to highlight the growing impact of the virus, in a rare intervention from a monarch whose duties are largely ceremonial.

"I believe we have failed," the king said in an excerpt from the programme broadcast by SVT on Wednesday. The full show airs on Dec. 21.

"We have had a large number of deaths and that is terrible. That is something that brings us all suffering."

An official commission blamed high death tolls in nursing homes on systemic shortcomings in elderly care coupled with inadequate measures from the government and agencies  

Sweden has registered more than 7,800 deaths, a much higher per capita rate than its Nordic neighbours but lower than in Britain, Italy, Spain or France, which have all opted for lockdowns.

The 74-year-old king has no formal political power and rarely comments on current and political issues, though he has addressed the nation to offer encouragement during the outbreak.

In the spring, the government's response to the pandemic was widely supported by Swedes who carried on much as normal while most of Europe entered lockdown.

But the rising death toll - particularly among elderly residents of care homes - has drawn increasing criticism.

(With Reuters inputs)

Read in App