Government response to Covid-19 was too slow and insufficient to stop spread, Swedish commission finds



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A commission appointed by the government has said that Sweden’s interventions at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic were insufficient to prevent the spread of the virus, and the state’s preparedness was substandard.

The commission investigating the government’s management of the Covid-19 pandemic has issued a scathing interim report, accusing the state of introducing measures too late to prevent the spread of the deadly virus. 

“Sweden’s handling of the pandemic has been marked by a slowness of response,” the commission stated, adding that “the initial disease prevention and control measures were insufficient to stop or even substantially limit the spread of the virus in the country.” 

The commission also contended that it had taken “far too long” to build sufficient testing capacity as, at first, only targeted groups, such as healthcare staff, were able to get tested.

Sweden embarked on a no-lockdown strategy with tighter restrictions added during later waves of the pandemic. The country had recorded around 15,000 deaths from the virus, substantially more than its Nordic neighbors who locked down quickly. 

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The strategy, largely reflecting the now-defunct Great Barrington Declaration, was controversial at home and abroad as preventative measures were dropped in favor of asking the public to make their own decisions.

The move was praised by some who saw the model as more business friendly, and some predicted naturally developing herd immunity would eventually slow the spread of the virus.

The commission will deliver its final findings in a 2022 report, although the interim reports have been highly critical of the government. Beyond making its findings public, the commission has no legal power.

Nearly all Covid-19 measures have now been removed in Sweden.

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