Olivia Wigzell, director of the National Board of Health and Welfare of Sweden, explained that Sweden did not impose strict lockdown measures like those seen in other European countries to prevent citizens from developing ‘pandemic fatigue.
“We did not choose the path of a complete lockdown of society, because we had other arguments for a systematic response to a pandemic,” Wigzell said during the conference Pandemic 2020: Challenges, Solutions, Consequences held in Moscow on Oct. 13.
Wigzell added, “We were very afraid, we feared that people would develop such a pandemic fatigue, that people would get tired of restrictions. But in Sweden, practically everyone followed the recommendations,” according to RT.
Wigzell’s statements were shared at the same time as a senior World Health Organization (WHO) official said that strict closures “should be avoided” after the WHO suggested that countries should close as a preventive measure against the spread of the virus.
“Look what’s happened to smallholder farmers all over the world. Look what’s happening to poverty levels. It seems that we may well have a doubling of world poverty by next year. We may well have at least a doubling of child malnutrition,” said WHO special envoy Dr. David Nabarro.
Sweden, whose mortality rate from the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) Virus, is now the lowest in Europe, followed the herd immunity model in order to slow the advance of infections, allowing people who are immune to the disease to interrupt the epidemiological chain.
The decision of Swedish authorities not to impose a mandatory lockdown allowed schools, gyms, bars, and restaurants to continue offering services by adopting the implementation of minimum restrictions and assuming a voluntary approach to public health guidelines.
As RT noted, both office staff and university students worked remotely as long as possible and at-risk groups were advised to stay home or limit their social interactions in public.
“We knew there would be side effects of closing schools—keeping them open is extremely important for children’s health,” said Karin Tegmark Wisell, director of the Department of Microbiology at the Swedish public health agency.
“We thought it would be easier to be inclusive and treat people as subjects and not objects and felt this would work for a longer time,” she added, as reported by Express UK.
Efforts to address the pandemic were based on science, Wisell said, but she stressed how important it was for experts to implement a comprehensive social health care approach and not just one that focused on analyzing the consequences of the pandemic as such.
Wigzell reported that during the pandemic, Sweden strengthened its health care system while keeping 30 to 40 percent of its beds free, with ventilators available if needed to contain waves of patients infected with the virus.
The Swedish economy fell comparatively less than many other European countries, with gross domestic product declining by 8.6 percent in the second quarter of 2020 due primarily to slowing imports and household consumption spending, according to Statistics Sweden.
The fall in Sweden’s GDP is also much smaller than countries such as Portugal (-14.1%), France (-13.8%), Belgium (-12.2%) and Italy (-12.4%), and even exceeds Germany (-10.1%), according to a report by the Foundation for Economic Education.
In a video that went viral on social networks, a young Swedish woman can be seen telling about life in her country during the pandemic.
The video was released last Monday, Oct. 12, and shows what it is like to take a train in Stockholm while the travelers look calm, without social distance and very few of them wearing face masks.