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World Sweden starts critical look at its pandemic response

22:21  30 june  2020
22:21  30 june  2020 Source:   reuters.com

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STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden on Tuesday announced a commission to evaluate its response to the novel coronavirus, reacting to criticism over a death toll that has far exceeded that of its neighbours.

a sign on the side of a building: Sign assures people that bar is open during coronavirus outbreak in Stockholm © Reuters/Reuters Staff Sign assures people that bar is open during coronavirus outbreak in Stockholm

More than 5,300 Swedes have died compared to around 250 in Norway, 600 in Denmark and 325 in Finland, all of which have populations around half the size.

Sweden, unlike the rest of Scandinavia, chose not to close schools and businesses to fight the spread of the virus.

Coronavirus: has Sweden, which refused confinement, already lost its bet?

 Coronavirus: has Sweden, which refused confinement, already lost its bet? © Reuters By refusing strict containment, Sweden has opted for a reverse strategy from most European countries, but its results are no more flattering and the epidemic is still not slowing down. Explanations. New cases on the rise. Sweden reported 2,889 new cases of Covid-19 on Monday. This figure is the highest ever seen since the start of the epidemic. The country also recorded 69 deaths, according to data from WHO .

"It is not a question of whether Sweden is going to change as a result of this - the question is how," Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told a news conference.

The commission has a broad mandate to look at how the virus arrived in Sweden, how it spread, the government's and other authorities' response, and the effect on equality.

Sweden's response to the virus outbreak, which has relied mainly on voluntary measures and common sense hygiene rules, has led to its being snubbed by its neighbours and other countries in Europe that have kept their borders shut to Swedish tourists.

Its toll is still lower than in some European countries, such as Britain, which has one of the worst death rates in the world.

Criticism in Sweden has focused mainly on the death toll among elderly residents of care homes, who make up the majority of deaths from the virus, and the late start to widespread testing.

The head of the Public Health Agency says Sweden followed established practice.

Anders Tegnell, who has become the face of Sweden's virus strategy, told Reuters it remained unclear whether total lockdowns were effective.

The commission will report on elderly care at the end of November, although its final conclusions are not due until 2022, ahead of a national election.

(Reporting by Simon Johnson; editing by Barbara Lewis)

WHO Launches Review of Covid-19 Pandemic Response After Trump Criticism .
The World Health Organization named leaders of an independent panel to review its response to the Covid-19 pandemic that has been criticized by the U.S. Helen Clark, former prime minister of New Zealand, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former president of Liberia, were selected as co-chairs, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a meeting with member-states. The panel will present an interim report in November.WHO has come under fire for its response to the coronavirus outbreak from President Donald Trump who is pulling the U.S. out of the global group, saying that it’s too close to China.

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