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Covid-19: the Swedish exception?

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No compulsory mask, no episodes of confinement, or closure of restaurants: in Sweden, the government has bet on the self-discipline of citizens to face the Covid-19 pandemic. Rather than resorting to the hard method, he has long preferred to focus on individual responsibility, social distancing and the generalization of telework. A strategy approved by the majority of the population, but which is now reaching its limits, because if Sweden is in the European average, it has ten times more deaths from the virus than Norway and Finland.

Last March, as the first wave of Covid-19 hit the world, Sweden made the choice not to adopt binding measures, preferring to leave its citizens individual and collective responsibility for stemming the pandemic.

But last November, with the onset of winter and the surge of a second particularly strong wave of contamination, the threat intensified and the Swedish government had to change its strategy to fight the virus.

If the latter remains less strict than in many other countries, the kingdom has gradually tightened the screws by adopting several measures: limiting the number of guests at the restaurant table, switching to distance education in high schools, wearing a mask recommended, but still no closure of shops.

Since mid-December, the number of daily cases has been declining. However, that decline has recently stalled and health officials now fear a third wave.

As of February 16, the country, which has a population of 10.3 million, had more than 610,000 cases of coronavirus and at least 12,487 deaths, according to official figures.

Our reporters went to Sweden, but also to Finland and Denmark, to meet in particular Swedes who left their country for fear of being infected.


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