The joy of freedom: Why is it now time to be so conceited about living in Sweden?
We are starting to feel that the epidemic is over in Sweden, and that we will avoid a resurgence of the infection elsewhere in Europe. Then on Tuesday, a slight rise in cases and the potential for targeted local restrictions came as an unpleasant reminder. That is, and you are kicked out of the cafe near the coast of Skåne where I worked last Saturday. The man behind the table asked him, “Do you have a cold?” “Because the family who was here, they said you were coughing.” She offered to leave hoping it wouldn’t be necessary. But it was. “I’m sorry, Corona times, but yeah, that would be better.” To me, this was important mainly because of how weird it was. Since the pandemic struck in mid-March, Sweden has remained very calm, and its restrictions so gentle, that it often felt like a crisis happening elsewhere. Given the growing anger, blame, hysteria and panic in the UK, the calm here feels surreal, and something to be grateful for. The episode also added to my first-hand proof that Swedes continue to largely adhere to the Public Health Agency’s recommendations – stay at a distance, maintain good hygiene, and stay home when you are sick (I suppose I might add, although it’s not a recommendation, a report on Your fellow clients who don’t). Even as Swedish epidemiologist Anders Tegnell outlined on Tuesday and Thursday his agency’s new strategy for highly-targeted local restrictions to end the outbreak quickly, he emphasized the importance of putting in place nationwide restrictions that are sufficient but light enough to keep them in place. Duration.