Coronavirus: Sweden says it failed to protect the elderly

Some 50 per cent of the country's deaths have been in care homes

A busy Ralambshov park in Stockholm despite the pandemic. Reuters
A busy Ralambshov park in Stockholm despite the pandemic. Reuters

Sweden has conceded it did not do enough to protect its elderly population amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In contrast to its neighbours and most of Europe, the Scandinavian country has controversially adopted a more relaxed approach, keeping primary schools and restaurants open.

Half of its 3,225 confirmed deaths have been in nursing homes, which are typically much larger than in other European countries. Many workers in care homes have reported a lack of protective equipment and over 90 per cent of those who have died are over 70.

Health and social affairs minister, Lena Hallengren, recently told a Swedish TV station that more should have been done.

"We failed to protect our elderly. That's really serious, and a failure for society as a whole. We have to learn from this, we're not done with this pandemic yet," she said.

Dan Eliasson, who heads up the body in Sweden tasked with civil protection and public safety, said it was natural that authorities would ask “did we react fast enough?”

The country’s top Catholic religious figure and only Cardinal Anders Arborelius has also suggested the elderly could have been better protected.

"Not being an expert, it's difficult to judge, but I would say that many people here in Sweden are very worried and, also, the authorities have recognized that we have not been able to give elderly people the protection they needed," he told Catholic News Service.

“If you come to Stockholm, you see more people in the street than in other parts of Europe," he added.

Published: May 11, 2020 09:07 PM


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