Despite rising anger, Sweden says controversial Covid-19 strategy is effective

Anders Tegnell, the architect behind Sweden’s relatively relaxed response to Covid-19, told local media the latest figures on infection rates and fatalities indicate the situation is starting to stabilize. The spread of Covid-19 across the globe is triggering different responses across national and even state borders, as authorities struggle to contain an outbreak about which much remains unknown. At no stage did Sweden see a real shortage of medical equipment or hospital capacity, and tents set up as emergency care facilities around the country have mostly remained empty. Related: Coronavirus crisis around the world (Photos) A volunteer from the NGO Proactiva Open Arms performs a rapid test on Covid-19 by giving a nose swab to a health worker of the Redos Geriatric Residence in Sant Pere de Ribes, Spain, on April 30, as the tests are part of a clinical trial carried out on health workers in nursing homes and residents coordinated by Can Ruti Hospital and in which the HIV Foundation and the NGOProactiva Open Arms are participating. “The trend we have seen in recent days, with a more flat curve -- where we have many new cases, but not a daily increase -- is stabilizing,” Karin Tegmark Wisell, head of the microbiology department at Sweden’s Public Health Authority, said on Friday. “We are seeing the same pattern for patients in intensive care.” Just two weeks ago, the picture was considerably bleaker, and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven suggested the government may need to review its approach amid the prospect of thousands of Swedish deaths. Sweden’s Covid-19 strategy may ultimately result in a smaller -- albeit historically deep -- economic contraction than the rest of Europe is now facing, according to HSBC Global Research economist James Pomeroy. More people work from home than anywhere else in Europe, and everyone has access to fast Internet, which helps large chunks of the workforce stay productive away fromthe office. Trips from Stockholm to Gotland -- a popular vacation destination -- dropped by 96% over the Easter weekend, according to data from the country’slargest mobile operator, Telia Company.