A big sticker of the healthcare services of Sweden is placed on the pavement in Stockholm to instruct people to remain two meters apart on May 4, 2020.
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images
  • Sweden recorded the most coronavirus deaths in Europe per capita over the last week, according to data from Our World In Data, an online research publication based at the University of Oxford.
  • The data, first reported on by Reuters, indicates that although Sweden's coronavirus cases are declining overall, the country's relaxed lockdown measures have seen its average daily number of per capita coronavirus cases within the last week climb above its European counterparts.
  • Sweden never issued a formal coronavirus lockdown and has instead encouraged citizens to stay home when they're sick and maintain social distancing when in public.
  • Johan Giesecke, Sweden's former chief epidemiologist and current health advisor to the World Health Organization, told Business Insider that while Sweden's relaxed policy has not yet been successful in curbing its Covid-19 outbreak, it will in the future.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Sweden recorded the most coronavirus deaths in Europe per capita over the last seven-day period, according to data from Our World In Data, an online research publication based at the University of Oxford.

The data, first reported on by Reuters, indicates that although Sweden's coronavirus cases are declining overall, the country's relaxed measures have seen its average daily per capita death toll climb above its European counterparts within the last seven days.

According to the number of confirmed daily deaths per million inhabitants on a rolling seven-day average, Sweden had 6.25 deaths between May 12 and May 19.

Comparatively, the United Kingdom averaged 5.75 deaths per million, Belgium averaged 4.6 deaths per million, France averaged 3.49 deaths per million, and Italy averaged 3 deaths per million over the same seven-day period.

While Sweden has recorded fewer overall coronavirus cases than Italy and Germany - more than 30,000 cases and over 3,700 deaths - Sweden's per capita coronavirus death toll is among the highest in the world.

Sweden never issued a formal lockdown since the coronavirus outbreak began sweeping through Europe over the last few months. Instead, the country's coronavirus model relies on personal responsibility and encourages citizens to stay home when they're sick and maintain social distancing when in public. Most businesses, restaurants, bars, and schools have remained open, though gatherings of more than t 50 people were banned in late March.

Johan Giesecke, Sweden's former chief epidemiologist and current health advisor to the World Health Organization, has defended Sweden's policy and said that countrywide lockdowns merely delay the number of coronavirus cases and deaths, which are inevitable.

"There is very little we can do to prevent this spread," he wrote in a piece in a piece for the Lancet medical journal earlier this month.

"A lockdown might delay severe cases for a while, but once restrictions are eased, cases will reappear," he wrote.

"I expect that when we count the number of deaths from Covid-19 in each country in one year from now, the figures will be similar, regardless of measures taken," he added.

Giesecke told Business Insider that Sweden's controversial policy has not yet been successful in curbing the Covid-19 outbreak in the country, but says it will in the future.

He added that he predicts that Sweden's case count and death toll will continue to rise in the coming weeks, but said the country "is on the downward slope."

"When countries with a lockdown open up, they will get their cases," he said.

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