Swedish government officials said Monday they realize the COVID-19 pandemic is not going away anytime soon and their “lighter” approach to the crisis is designed for the long term.
Unlike other Scandinavian and European nations, Sweden did not mandate a lockdown in the country, allowing business and schools to stay open, as long as they observed social distancing guidelines. The policy had been met with criticism among health officials in and outside of Sweden.
At the news briefing in Stockholm Monday, though, officials say they are cracking down on certain bars and restaurants that failed to observe social distancing guidelines.
Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin told reporters they have always been prepared to take new measures when needed, and when public health experts say activities are dangerous, they will close down those activities.
Sweden has maintained that its approach to the virus is about “taking the right measures at the right time.” They used voluntary actions based on recommendations rather than enforcing a nation-wide lockdown.
Swedish Foreign Minster Anne Linde told reporters they believe their method is will work better as the pandemic stretches on.
As of Monday, Sweden reported 18,926 total coronavirus cases and 2,274 deaths.