But not Sweden. Restaurants and bars are open in the Nordic country, playgrounds and schools too, and the government is relying on voluntary action to stem the spread of Covid-19.
It’s a controversial approach, and one that’s drawn US President Donald Trump’s attention. “Sweden did that, the herd, they call it the herd. Sweden’s suffering very, very badly,” Trump said on Tuesday.
But the Swedish government is confident its policy can work. Foreign Minister Ann Linde told Swedish TV on Wednesday that Trump was “factually wrong” to suggest that Sweden was following the “herd immunity” theory — of letting enough people catch the virus while protecting the vulnerable, meaning a country’s population builds up immunity against the disease.
Sweden’s strategy, she said, was: “No lockdown and we rely very much on people taking responsibility themselves.”
The country’s state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, also pushed back against Trump’s criticism that Sweden was doing badly. “I think Sweden is doing okay,” he told CNN affiliate Expressen. “It’s producing quality results the same way it’s always done. So far Swedish health care is handling this pandemic in a fantastic way.”