The Scandinavian country believes its distinctive high-trust culture will protect it from needing to shut down for the pandemic.
STOCKHOLM—Almost all countries in the West dealing with the coronavirus pandemic have by now arrived at the same lockdown strategy, with some local variations. Only one major exception stands out. Sweden, while facing an undisputed high-risk outbreak of the virus, has committed to going its own way in combating it.
The Swedish government appears to be betting that its national culture is distinctive enough to pull off public health policies other countries can’t. Whether it will regret doing so remains to be seen.
Stockholm’s coronavirus efforts stand out as markedly measured—or, as some would have it, dangerously tame. Two weeks after the country’s Public Health Agency (on March 10) raised the risk level of a community spread of the virus to “very high”—the highest grade on a five-point scale—primary schools remain open, borders are only partially closed, there are no compulsory quarantines or shutdowns of restaurants, bars, or public spaces. While there is a ban on public gatherings, the 500-person limit is more generous than in other countries. […]
Publicerad på foreignpolicy.com den 24 mars 2020.