Even at the Swedish King the principle of hope seems to rule. In a major video interview with the daily newspaper "Dagens Nyheter" explained Carl XVI. Gustaf these days when asked what he thought of his country's rather lax approach to the Corona threat so far: "We'll see what comes of it."The borders for EU citizens are still open, as are most stores, restaurants and cafes. Children are allowed into elementary schools and daycare centers. Unlike in the Alps, ski resorts in northern Sweden were still operating for a long time, and it wasn't until Tuesday that operators announced they were closing down.
The 73-year-old Carl Gustaf has retired to Stenhammar Castle far from Stockholm with his wife, Queen Silvia (76), who is from Germany. He hopes that the authorities and experts will use their experience to make the right decisions. Sweden is strong: "We are an enormously well-organized country."
This is what the king thinks of Sweden's special path in the Corona crisis
With the head of state the principle hope seems to rule. In a major video interview with the daily newspaper "Dagens Nyheter", the king now explained when asked what he thought of his country's special way in the Corona fight holds: "We will see what comes out of it." He hopes that the authorities and experts with their experience will make the right decisions. Sweden is strong, he said: "We are an enormously well-organized country."
That may be true. The small, economically powerful and digitized kingdom is proud of its independence. External threats are alien to the Swedes. Thanks to their neutrality they were spared the Second World War. The last war on Swedish soil was against the Russians in 1809. Carl Gustaf's ancestors had to cede Finland afterwards. Now, like the rest of the world, Swedes are up against an invisible, insidious foe. Read here: Sweden's corona path causes horror at Markus Lanz.
And the rest of Europe rubs its eyes in wonder why buses and trains in Stockholm are packed, while Germans have to squat in their own four walls. Are the virologists in Stockholm smarter – or will lax crisis management take its revenge?
Government listens to Sweden's Christian Drosten
The government of Sweden Prime Minister Stefan Lofven reacted rather reservedly to the Corona crisis for a long time. Borders are open to EU citizens, as are schools up to grade 9. Class and the Kitas. Universities, on the other hand, are closed, and final exams have been canceled. In Stockholm, buses and subways are as full as ever. Anyone showing no symptoms can go to work as usual, health officials recommend. In the meantime, the government has tightened the reins. Health and Social Affairs Minister Lena Hallengren initially announced only restrictions on operations in bars, restaurants and cafes. There, it is only allowed to serve at the table or out of the house.
The government stops fighting Corona Anders Tegnell. He is the Chief epidemiologist, A Swedish Christian Drosten. Wearing sneakers and a sweater, the 63-year-old looks younger than he is. Earlier this week, he said no one knows what strategy is right or wrong in which country against Covid-19. The Swedes are accustomed to rely on voluntarism.
The top disease fighter believes that a large part of the population is gradually surviving the virus and thus a Herd immunity builds. For this he has already had to take a lot of criticism in the otherwise so consensus-oriented country. The U.K. and the Netherlands also initially took this route, but after massive warnings have since taken tougher measures to contain the virus.
Then on Thursday, Tegnell sounded considerably more concerned. "We are at a new level", he admitted. Because the numbers are rising: Sweden now has more than 5500 confirmed Corona cases. 308 people have died so far, including a woman just 26 years old. Neighboring Norway last reported 51 deaths with a similar number infected. Tegnell explained that it mainly affects older Swedes over 70. Intensive care units fill up, first field hospitals built in Stockholm area. In the capital alone, about 230 people have contracted the coronavirus in 45 nursing homes.
The youngest Corona victim in Sweden was only 26
Can the health care system, which has been trimmed for cost efficiency in recent years, withstand the rising numbers of Corona-infected patients??
- Sweden now has over 5500 cases, 308 patients have died.
- Including, as the youngest victim in the country so far, a 26-year-old woman who had the Corona virus and died in a Stockholm clinic.
- Within ten days, intensive care places have now been doubled, and a 600-bed field hospital is also being built in Stockholm.
Bjorn Eriksson, the director responsible for health care in the capital, told "Dagens Nyheter": "The storm is here, and it is gaining strength."
German and Swedish experts accuse the government in Stockholm of massively underestimating the danger. The SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach, who has been analyzing the Swedish healthcare system for years, is surprised at how relatively relaxed the authorities have been there. "I think it's indefensible and very risky", said the member of the Bundestag and medicine professor to our editorship.
German experts warn: "Sweden is a bad example"
Acknowledged computer computational models predicted high death rates for herd immunity strategy, Lauterbach warned. Swedish clinics are not equipped for an onslaught of Corona patients, he says. Sweden has a few top hospitals for serious cases, but the hospitals in the countryside have too little intensive care and ventilation capacity.
Lauterbach said the European medical community was looking with great incomprehension at the Swedes' reaction: "This is a bad example." Germany is on a better path, he said. A temporary full stop with the drastic downsizing of social contacts is reasonable to buy time and avoid overloading hospitals, he said. He hopes Stockholm government will soon pull emergency brake like rest of Europe.
In fact, Stockholm is now tightening the reins. Visits to old people's homes have been prohibited since 1. April prohibited, as well as larger gatherings with more than 50 people. Stockholm bishop cancels all church services. Government leader Lofven called on all citizens with symptoms to stay home and refrain from unnecessary travel. "The danger is not over."The peak of the crisis is still to come.
Despite Corona virus: hotels and gondolas were full – will Åre become a second Ischgl?
Dreamlike adventures on the slopes in Swedish powder snow, while the rest of Europe stews in Corona quarantine in their own four walls? A bad joke? My ass. The Skiing stronghold Åre in northern Sweden lured holidaymakers to the last with last-minute offers. The thing has only one hook. Even in the 2800-strong community of Åre, located 600 kilometers north of Stockholm Corona arrived long ago.
While in the Alps or in neighboring Norway all lifts had long since been closed, skiing operations on the 1400-meter-high mountain Åreskutan went on blithely. Had Sweden learned nothing from the Corona outbreak in Ischgl, Austria? The ski resort in the Alps is considered one of the central hotbeds of epidemics in Europe. From there, thousands of vacationers returned to Germany and Scandinavia, many of them long since infected, according to experts. It was only on Tuesday that the operators agreed to close the Swedish slopes. With it falls in the 30.The town of Åre, which is home to over 1,000,000 people, lost its lucrative Easter business.
Tips from the king: read books, tidy up and paint the house
Tine Klintevall, a retired veterinarian and virologist, called on all Swedes not to come to Åre in an article for "Dagens Nyheter". She lives in the small nest of Hallen in the municipality of Åre. On Easter weekends, between 2.000 to 3.000 cars pass through the town – per day.
Even at the beginning of the week, skiers were nevertheless romping around again in Åre. All 39 lifts were in operation, 87 of the 89 slopes open, snow depth 1.08 meters. Virologist Klintevall's appeal to her compatriots and foreign tourists: "Stay at home during the Easter holidays! Other Easter holidays are coming!"
Other renowned virologists and experts have also long openly disagreed with the government's strategy and called for tougher measures to contain Corona. In the otherwise mostly consensus-loving society, a battle of opinions is raging over the right way through the crisis.
And what advises Sweden's king? "There is a new speed. No one believed that something like this could happen in Sweden."Carl Gustaf recommends that his countrymen listen to the experts and spend as much time as possible at home. You could read a book, clean up or paint the house, she said. He himself was reading a lot, skype with his grandchildren and wanted to restore an old sofa.