The Sun : Sweden scientist denies branding coronavirus-ravaged country’s refusal to lockdown a failure

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SWEDEN's top coronavirus scientist has denied branding the country's refusal to impose a lockdown a failure.

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell previously appeared to suggest that Stockholm would have implemented restrictions at the start of the outbreak if they knew over 4,500 Swedes were going to die.

AFP or licensors
Sweden did not impose lockdown restrictions and has suffered a much higher Covid-19 death toll than its neighbours[/caption]
Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell admitted too many people had died.
Jonas Ekstromer
Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell denies he claimed the country's strategy had failed[/caption]

However, he now says the radio interview was "very wrongly put together and very wrongly advertised."

Speaking to the Telegraph, he said: "What I said … was that after this, we're going to do a lot of evaluation, and of course, there are going to be things we did in Sweden that we think we did right, and there are things in other countries that are also going to be proven right."

Sweden has recorded 4,656 deaths and 43,887 infections in a population of 10 million, while neighbours Denmark, Norway and Finland who imposed lockdowns have seen much lower rates.

Denmark has seen 587 deaths, Norway has had 238 deaths and Finland 322 while the Swedes reported a further 74 deaths on Wednesday alone.

In his previous comments, Tegnell said: "If we would encounter the same disease, with exactly what we know about it today, I think we would land midway between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world did."

HERD IMMUNITY

He added that it would be "good to know exactly what to shut down to curb the spread of infection better."

After addressing the controversy around his statement, Tegnell pointed out that Sweden's pandemic appears to be slowing with around 10 people being admitted to intensive care every day – down from 50 at the height of the outbreak.

He also said the science around the contagious respiratory disease, which has killed nearly 400,000 worldwide, shows that 'herd immunity' can be achieved.

Tegnell said: "It seems to be clear now, when you talk to specialists in the field that there seems to be a considerable amount of people who don't develop antibodies, but still seem to be immune.

Sweden has taken a soft-touch approach to fighting the virus
Getty Images - Getty
Sweden has taken a soft-touch approach to fighting the killer virus[/caption]

"I think any rumours that this disease does not create immunity, they are false. Of course it creates immunity."

Herd immunity is where enough people in a population have developed immunity to an infection to be able to effectively stop that disease from spreading.

This week the Swedish government bowed to mounting opposition pressure and promised to set up a commission to look into its controversial Covid-19 strategy.

Sweden has taken a soft-touch approach to fighting the virus, leaving most schools, shops and restaurants open and relying on voluntary measures focused on social distancing and good hygiene.

'NOT THE SMARTEST' STRATEGY

It also banned gatherings of more than 50 people and halted visits to elderly care homes.

Non-essential travel is still not recommended under national guidelines, but journeys of up to two hours are allowed to see relatives or close friends.

Last week, the Swedish model was described by former state epidemiologist Annika Linde as "not the smartest".

Pointing to Sweden's Nordic neighbours, the virologist told Expressen they had "succeeded quite well" by comparison in limiting the killer bug's rampage through their countries.

"The Swedish model may not have been the smartest in all respects," Linde said.

But, the 72-year-old said it was completely pointless bringing in a strict lockdown now.

"I don't think a shutdown will benefit now – I think it's too late," Linde said.



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