Prime Minister Löfven prepares Sweden for thousands of deaths

Sweden has been in the focus of the coronavirus crisis for some time, because the country takes a special path in the fight against the spread of the pathogen. Compared to all other European countries and many countries worldwide, the restrictions of everyday life are comparatively moderate for the more than ten million citizens. For example, day-care centers, elementary schools, cafes and restaurants are still open.

The red-green minority government largely leaves it with appeals to the responsibility of each individual. Now Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is preparing his compatriots for the consequences that the corona virus will have for Sweden in his opinion. There are also signs of a change of course in the country. Measures such as curfews now seem conceivable.

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In an interview with the newspaper “Dagens Nyheter”, the social democrat says that the pandemic in Sweden is slower than in other countries does not mean that there will be fewer seriously ill and dead people. Sweden is pursuing the strategy of delaying the increase in infections in order not to overload the health system, said Löfven. “But that also means that we will have more seriously ill people who need intensive care, we will have significantly more deaths. We will face thousands of deaths. We should prepare for this. ”

Interaktive Karte

The Social Democrat further said: “You have to be honest and describe the situation as it is.” He could not say exactly how many would become seriously ill or how many would be in intensive care units. “But this is” what we are planning and what we are preparing for. “

So far there are around in Sweden People tested positive for the coronavirus, 333 Patients are at the consequences of Covid – 19 deceased. The Stockholm region alone reports 204 fatality, there are around 2660 confirm infections.

Löfven said it was important not to let up now. “We have to count on months, not weeks. We have to be prepared for this period. “Now it is important to have discipline.” Citizens should adhere to the rules and recommendations of the government and wash their hands regularly and, for example, not visit older relatives. Löfven is since 2012 chairman of the social democratic Workers' Party of Sweden and since October 2014 more Swedish Prime Minister.

When asked what he thinks that many other countries have chosen a different strategy, the 62 – Year-old: “I think you shouldn't dramatize this picture.” Everyone Countries considered how to proceed with social distancing and how health systems could be strengthened. “We do it in a different way. Sometimes it is also because we are in different phases. “

Eine Militärangehörige richtet ein Bett im Feldlazarett her.

A military member prepares a bed in the field hospital. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP

The still comparatively revealing line is not only popular. There are fierce debates on internet forums. Even the media, in which the coronavirus is the dominant topic, evaluate the situation quite differently in opinions.

In addition to the lack of protective equipment for medical personnel, the number of intensive care beds could be a major problem . State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, who advises Löfven's government, said in his daily press conference on Thursday that the pressure on the intensive care units is increasing. “But the situation is still manageable.”

Because of the coronavirus crisis in Stockholm all intensive care beds will soon be occupied

According to official information, Sweden has 4, 89 Beds for adults in intensive care units pro 100. 000 Inhabitants over in Europe comparatively very little capacity. In the country there are around 520 Intensive beds, of which 470 are occupied. Work is ongoing to increase the number. However, new intensive care units cannot be set up quickly, as government officials admit. In addition, qualified personnel must also be available.

As the tabloid “Aftonbladet” reported on Saturday, citing internal documents, the situation in the intensive care units in the Stockholm region is now dramatic. All beds could be occupied there this weekend, according to a letter from the University Clinic Karolinska, from which the sheet quotes. He would then have to prioritize which patients need the most intensive care treatment. “Our most important task now is to save everyone as many lives as we can together,” quotes the sheet at the end of the alarm letter.

Otherwise, work is being done to create more hospital beds. At the weekend, a field hospital for initially 19 open coronavirus patients, this could affect more than 600 beds will be increased, according to the authorities.

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Sweden even pursues in comparison to its Scandinavian Neighbors Denmark and Norway have a more liberal strategy. Kindergartens and primary schools up to the ninth grade are still open, unlike high schools and universities, where there are digital lessons. Gyms or swimming pools are open, as are restaurants, pubs and cafés, which, however, are now only allowed to serve their guests at the table.

The national borders are tight for non-Europeans, but not for citizens of the EU and the European Free Trade Association. The authorities are asking everyone to keep their distance, to work in the home office if possible and never to go to work if you feel the slightest symptoms of illness. There is a recurring appeal to minimize social contacts and not to postpone events and trips.

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have been really prohibited since 27. March gatherings with more than 50 participants – until then the limit was 500 participants. Among other things, this led to the fact that up to 499 People celebrated après-ski vigorously for each event, although it had long been known that the Ischgl ski area in Tyrol was an epicenter of the virus in Europe. The bars in the popular Swedish winter sports resorts closed, but skiing was still possible. Large ski areas are now closing on April 6th before the Easter holidays.

Restaurants und Cafes wie hier in Stockholm sind noch geöffnet.

restaurants and cafes like here in Stockholm are still open. Photo: Janerik Henriksson / TT / Reuters

Since Tuesday the edition of Medication rationed. In addition, the government tightened its recommendations on Thursday and called on employers and, for example, the operators of local public transport to take precautions to ensure that distance rules were observed.

Visits to the elderly have also been taking place since Wednesday – and nursing homes prohibited. On Thursday, Swedish media such as SVT or Sveriges Radio reported that the corona virus had already spread to several old people's homes in the capital, Stockholm.

A nursing service told the SVT that it is now in the homes he manages in the Stockholm region 250 Older people with a coronavirus Infection, including many with pre-existing conditions. So far 50 died, said the head of the “Familjeläkarna” service, Stefan Amér. Tegnell also reported on Thursday “more cases in retirement homes in Stockholm and other parts.”

When asked whether he feared an economic collapse for his country due to the coronavirus crisis Löfven said: “It depends on how long the process is.” The finance minister's forecast was that if things didn't go on for too long, things would go up again. “But it is still clear that the economy will be affected for a long time.”

In the background, however, a course change is now also being prepared in Sweden. In order to limit the spread of the virus, the red-green minority government wants to get significantly more competencies and special powers, reports Sveriges Radio, citing the tabloid “Expressen”.

Accordingly, the Löfvens government addressed the opposition with a bill to secure their support for possible immediate measures such as curfews. The government wants to introduce the law as soon as possible, it should apply for three months. It should enable the government to take swift steps in the fight against the pandemic without first having to contact the Reichstag.

“Among other things, it could be a limitation of meetings, closing of Shopping centers, bars, discotheques, fitness studios, cafes or sports facilities go ”, the station reports online. Furthermore, the law should allow transportation to be restricted and the government to have access to infrastructure facilities such as ports, airfields, bus and train stations. The Ministry of Social Affairs has confirmed to the Swedish news agency TT that preparations are underway for a corresponding bill.