“We’re always looking at balance when it comes to public health, which is part of why we kept schools open,” he said.
“But we also had quite strict regulations for the elderly and they are still there and they still have very limited interactions with other people.”
Indeed, stay-at-home recommendations in Sweden for over-70s have been in place and remained the same since April, and it was only last week that a ban on visits to care homes was lifted. But even care home visits will be done “as safely as possible”, and could see bans reimposed at a local level if required.
“So we have had that shielding approach in some but we have not yet seen the need to do a lockdown where you limit everyone’s contacts,” he said.
And perhaps in most sharp contrast to Britain, Dr Wallensten said that while public fatigue towards Covid-19 measures is “an issue”, compliance with and trust in authorities in Sweden doesn’t yet appear to be declining – something he attributes to clear, long-standing recommendations.
The latest polling from YouGov found that 68 per cent of Britons supported a two-week lockdown for the country, while almost two-thirds do not think the government has a clear plan to tackle the pandemic.
This came after it emerged that the UK government overruled Sage scientists who pressed for strict national lockdown measures and warned that failure to do so could result in “a very large epidemic with catastrophic consequences”.
Instead, the government opted for a three-tiered approach which has been lambasted by many local leaders across the country, especially in the north.
Sweden – with a population of 10.23 million – has recorded 102,407 cases of Covid-19 and 5,910 deaths so far.