Covid-19: Sweden now has a higher infection rate than France or the United Kingdom

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Sweden now has a higher Covid-19 infection rate than France and Britain after avoiding lockdowns in favor of a ‘herd immunity’ approach to the pandemic.

Hospital admissions of coronavirus patients have nearly doubled every week in Sweden, with the country recording 208,295 cases and 6,406 deaths since the start of the epidemic.

Although much less than in Britain, Spain and France, the per capita infection rate in Sweden has now far exceeded the three countries.

Today, Sweden has reported 393 cases of Covid-19 per million population, while Britain and France have confirmed 337 and 324, respectively.

Sweden also has much higher infection rates than Norway, with the daily number of cases doubling in a fortnight and hospitals filling up faster than any country in Europe.

Pictured: How Sweden’s daily Covid-19 cases per million compare to UK, France and Spain

Sweden now has a higher Covid-19 infection rate than France and Britain after avoiding lockdowns in favor of a 'herd immunity' approach to the pandemic.  Pictured: People in Stockholm, Sweden today

Sweden now has a higher Covid-19 infection rate than France and Britain after avoiding lockdowns in favor of a ‘herd immunity’ approach to the pandemic. Pictured: People in Stockholm, Sweden today

The number of Swedes in intensive care with coronavirus is doubling every week, The Sun reported, and is much higher than in Austria and Slovakia.

Here, hospital admissions of patients with Covid-19 are doubling every nine days.

Goran Hansson, the head of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, warned that the situation in Sweden was “serious”, with the number of cases increasing at “accelerating speed”.

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He added: “The intensive care units are not yet at their maximum capacity, but these departments could soon become full if the current trend is not broken.

However, Swedish health officials insisted: “We don’t see that we are at a point where we could recommend the general use of face masks in public transport.”

Deaths in Sweden are now starting to rise sharply (pictured) despite the country’s virus expert predicting it would fare better than others in winter

Sweden has not been prepared for a second wave of coronavirus due to ‘wishful thinking’ from its top virus expert, its predecessor said (photo, seven-day average infections in Sweden)

Karin Tegmark Wisell, head of the Stockholm Public Health Agency, added: “Face masks should not be used as an excuse for not keeping a distance.”

On Monday, the former Swedish state epidemiologist warned the country was not prepared for a second wave of coronavirus due to “ wishful thinking ” from its top virus expert.

Annika Linde said Anders Tegnell was wrong in predicting that the “herd immunity” created over the summer would protect the country when winter came.

This approach saw cases and deaths skyrocket and, on Monday, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced that the gatherings would be limited to a maximum of eight people.

Mr Lofven said Swedes should also avoid going to gyms and libraries, and cancel the dinners they had planned.

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“This is the new standard for the whole of society,” he said. “It’s going to get worse. Do your duty and take responsibility for stopping the spread of the virus.

Hospital admissions of coronavirus patients have nearly doubled every week in Sweden, with the country recording 208,295 cases and 6,406 deaths since the start of the pandemic.  Pictured: Stockholm today

Hospital admissions of coronavirus patients have nearly doubled every week in Sweden, with the country recording 208,295 cases and 6,406 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Pictured: Stockholm today

Today Sweden has reported 393 cases of Covid-19 per million population, while Britain and France have confirmed 337 and 324, respectively. Pictured: Stockholm today

Today Sweden has reported 393 cases of Covid-19 per million population, while Britain and France have confirmed 337 and 324, respectively. Pictured: Stockholm today

The new gathering limit, so far set between 50 and 300 people depending on the event, will come into effect on November 24.

This does not affect gatherings in private homes – as the government does not have the power to ban them – but ministers advised against socializing with anyone outside your household.

Speaking about the situation in Sweden ahead of the announcement, Linde told the Telegraph: ‘Wishful thinking – when you don’t believe in a worst-case scenario – has guided Swedish decisions too much.

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“The Swedish authorities have been slow all the time. Instead of being proactive, they chased after the virus, and the virus was able to spread too much before acting.

Tegnell had boasted over the summer that Sweden’s no-lock antivirus strategy was seeing cases plummet because people were developing natural immunity.

He predicted that the country would therefore be better protected in winter than countries like Norway, which had imposed lockdowns.

But last week he was forced into a humiliating descent, admitting that “the development has been different from what we thought during the summer”.

Linde said the government should have started preparing for the second wave in late summer, cracking down on large gatherings and insisting on wearing masks.

This would have reduced the number of cases of “seedlings” among the population when fall arrives, when respiratory infections usually circulate much faster.

Instead, it took until October 20 before Tegnell issued the first round of local restrictions, a move that Linde said left the government behind.

Those restrictions have now been enforced across much of the country, with a nationwide ban on alcohol sales due to go into effect on Wednesday.

Tegnell has previously raised the possibility that the measures need to go further, suggesting that travel bans could be in place over Christmas.

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