'A Little Too Fast': King of Sweden Slams Nation's COVID-19 Reopening
This is second time the Swedish king, who usually refrains from commenting on public matters, has criticised his nation's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes it even more remarkable. In December, he said the authorities had "failed" in their approach to tackle the virus, citing Sweden's high death toll.
Offering his commentary on social events in a rare occurrence, King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has argued that the reopening of Swedish society after the COVID-19 pandemic may have been too hasty.
"Slow and steady is a good expression. You should think a little more about that. It may have gone a little fast in some areas, and we still need to keep up", Carl XVI Gustaf told TV4.
Sweden lifted nearly all restrictions in connection with the coronavirus pandemic on 29 September, eliminating assembly limits, reduced closing times for restaurants and bars, requirements for COVID-19 passports, and remote work recommendations.
According to King Carl XVI Gustaf, however, Swedes must keep in mind that the pandemic is not over yet.
"We still have to hold on. It's going to hang on", His Majesty said in the interview.
This is second time the Swedish king, who usually refrains from voicing his opinion on public matters, has criticised his nation's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. In December, he said the authorities had "failed" in their approach to tackling the virus.
"I believe we have failed. We have a large number of people who have died, and that is terrible. It is something we all suffer together", Carl XVI Gustaf said at the time.
17 December 2020, 10:01 GMT
At the beginning of 2020, Sweden pursued a markedly different COVID-19 strategy compared to the rest of the world with no lockdowns and almost no restrictions, drawing a lot of domestic and international criticism.
This led to Sweden initially becoming one of the hardest-hit European countries. In total, about 1.16 million Swedes have tested positive for coronavirus, while nearly 15,000 have lost their lives, which is more than its Nordic neighbours combined. Since then, however, the situation has levelled out, with infection rates in Sweden on par with fellow Scandinavian nations.
Over the past few weeks, all of the Nordic nations have drastically slashed or completely removed the COVID-19 restrictions that have been in place for months as part of their reopening process, citing a high vaccination rate and the necessity to jump-start the economy.