Published On: Sun, Apr 12th, 2020

Sweden coronavirus latest: Lockdown measures to get stricter following backlash | World | News

The country was one of few in Europe to not impose stringent regulations and enter a full lockdown. Stefan Lofven, Sweden‘s prime minister, admitted on Sunday that after taking a “flexible” stance on the precautionary measures, the country’s coronavirus guidance was “not good enough”.

Sweden was criticised for its soft approach on preventing the spread of the virus.

The Prime Minister’s decision to not close shops, restaurants and bars sparked international concern.

The country has also failed to stockpile emergency medication and supplies like ventilators.

Mr Lofven, who has been in power since 2014, blamed previous governments for the lack of medical supplies.

He said: “All parties have a responsibility in that, because [civil defence] was something that was phased out gradually after the Cold War, so that’s three decades we’re talking about.

“Since then, many governments have contributed to this.”

The government decided to leave social distancing measures up to the citizen’s discretion, and many businesses are still allowed to open as normal.

Some of the regulations imposed by the government include banning visits to care homes, bans on gatherings of more than 50 people and making higher education classes virtual.

While it is not compulsory, online working is encouraged and people are asked to avoid unnecessary journeys.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Half of Sweden’s population could be infected in April

Other countries in Europe are looking at easing up their lockdown measures.

In Austria, the government is considering reopening non-essential businesses of up to 300 square meters from Tuesday.

Shopping malls, hairdressers and larger shops could reopen as soon as May 1 if the new case rate does not rapidly increase.

Restaurants and hotels could reopen step by step from mid-May.

In Denmark, one of the first countries to go on lockdown, day care centres and schools for children in first to fifth grade will reopen on April 15.

All other bans, including gatherings of more than 10 people and closure of food businesses, gyms and hair salons are still in place until at least May 10.

A drive-in Easter service was carried out on Sunday in the parking spaces of Aalborg Airport.

In Spain, one of the heaviest-hit countries during the pandemic, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Sunday that further loosening of reduction of lockdown measures would depend on the country’s progress in the fight against coronavirus.

The country’s death toll has reached 16,972 – while the number of confirmed cases has reached 166,019.

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