The Swedish Public Health Agency has disclosed that it had recorded 4,029 deaths and 33,843 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country.
Sweden’s death toll has far surpassed the tolls in neighbouring Nordic countries, which have all imposed more restrictive containment measures.
According to website Worldometer, Sweden’s virus death rate of 399 per million inhabitants is far higher than Norway’s death rate of 43 per million, Denmark’s rate of 97, or Finland’s rate of 56. However it is still lower than France’s 435, the UK’s and Italy’s 542, and Spain’s 615.
Sweden, had gained international attention for its softer approach to the coronavirus than many of its European neighbours.
According to AFP, critics have accused Swedish authorities of gambling with the lives of citizens by not imposing strict stay-at-home measures. But the Public Health Agency has insisted their more relaxed approach is sustainable in the long-term and has rejected drastic short-term measures as too ineffective to justify their impact on society.
The Scandinavian country has kept schools open for children under the age of 16, along with cafes, bars, restaurants and businesses, while urging people to respect social distancing and hygiene guidelines.
State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency has repeatedly insisted that stricter measures would not have saved more lives.