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Sweden's coronavirus case rate is now lower than Denmark and Norway after refusing to lock down

SWEDEN'S coronavirus case rate was this week lower than those of neighbours Denmark and Norway for the first time since March.

The news follows the controversial decision by authorities in the country not to introduce a lockdown at the start of the pandemic.

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Sweden has seen an infection rate of 12 new cases per million people over the last seven days.

The equivalent figures in Denmark and Norway were 18 and 14 respectively.

Sweden's decision to pursue a "herd immunity" strategy and allow the virus to partially spread through its population previously saw its infection rate rise far above those of countries where lockdowns were introduced.

At the peak of the country's outbreak, it was seeing 108 new infections per million people.

The rates in Denmark and Norway have never risen above a 60, and have broadly remained below 20, but Swedish authorities say their strategy will be easier to maintain in the long-term.

In place of a lockdown, Swedes have been encouraged to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines, with many businesses allowed to remain open throughout.

Speaking at a press conference this week, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said: "Sweden has gone from being one of the countries with the most infection in Europe, to one of those with the least infection in Europe.

"Many other countries have seen a rather dramatic increase.

"What we see now is that the sustainable policy might be slower in getting results, but it will get results eventually.

"And then we also hope that the result will be more stable."


Denmark and Norway both saw cases rise again last month as they lifted their lockdowns, though neither is yet reaching the peaks seen in March and April.

Countries elsewhere in Europe have seen daily infection rates rise to levels seen earlier this year as they lifted their lockdowns.

France recorded 8,975 new cases on Friday, exceeding its previous daily peak, set on March 31, of 7,578.

Spain similarly saw cases rise again during August, registering 9,052 positive tests on August 21.

Sweden is currently seeing around 150 new cases diagnosed each day, far below its June 24 peak of 1,698.

The country has, however, seen a total of 5,835 deaths since the start of the pandemic, while Denmark and Norway have seen just 627 and 264 respectively.

The BBC also reported last month that study's suggest similar levels of antibodies – which help provide immunity to a virus – in the populations of Sweden and the UK.

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