Sweden to probe pandemic handling

Swedish PM Stefan Lofven announced on Monday that the government will launch an inquiry into its handling of the pandemic before the summer. The decision comes amid rising criticisms from both right and left opposition parties, which insist an independent commission to probe the country's response to the outbreak, news wires reported.

Lofven had previously said a special commission would be appointed once the pandemic is over but he and his Social Democrats party have faced mounting pressure to take action sooner. “We need to take an overall approach to see how it has worked at national, regional and local levels,” he told the Aftonbladet daily. “We will make a decision for a commission before the summer,” he added.

While the mortality rate over the course of the coronavirus outbreak has been lower than in some countries which had stricter measurements to contain the virus, Sweden had the highest number of Covid-19 related deaths in Europe relative to the size of the population through parts of May.

Sweden has lost more than 4,000 people to the pandemic, with roughly half of them having been nursing home residents. Testing in Sweden has also been significantly lower than in other Scandinavian countries, reaching only a third of the government's target of 100,000 tests per week.

The Nordic country has made global headlines for its more liberal approach to handling the coronavirus. Sweden has relied on voluntary measures based on hygiene and social distancing practices and kept most businesses, restaurants and schools open even during the peak of the pandemic. The commission would also be likely to assess Sweden's economic response to the crisis.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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