While other European countries imposed contact restrictions and the closure of shops and schools, Sweden spent many months trying its own strategy. Strict measures should not be taken in the fight against the coronavirus; the main focus was on citizens’ personal responsibility. The time of the Sonderweg is now over, King Carl XVI. Gustaf declared the casual approach “failed” before Christmas.
The Swedish government is now striving for extensive powers in the fight against the spread of the corona pandemic. As the government announced in Stockholm, it wants to achieve through new legislation that it can impose coercive measures in certain areas by the end of January at the latest and threaten sanctions in the event that these are not complied with.
With the new laws, the Swedish government wants to get the right to force shops and shopping centers to close. It should also be possible to set a maximum number of participants for meetings in public places. Health Minister Lena Hallengren said that anyone who violates such orders must expect fines. The government aims to get the new legislation through parliament by January 10th.
New infections are higher in comparison than in northern neighbors
The laws in force so far did not allow the government in Stockholm to impose a shutdown. In view of the sharp increase in the number of corona infections, however, preventive measures were increasingly decided. Meetings with more than eight people were banned in November. Citizens were called upon to limit their social contacts.
Last week, for the first time, people were asked to wear mouth and nose masks on public transport. With a population of 10.3 million people, almost 400,000 corona infections and almost 8,300 corona deaths were registered in Sweden until shortly before Christmas Eve. The deaths and the number of infections are many times higher than in the other Nordic countries Finland, Norway and Iceland in relation to the proportion of the population.