Overly harsh coronavirus lockdown measures risk “fatigue” and a “counter reaction” from people who stop following government advice, said Sweden’s Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lövin.
Sweden has adopted a different strategy to most European countries with far less restrictive social distancing measures. Schools, bars, restaurants and shops are open and gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed in the country.
Lövin told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Program that the Swedish government’s approach recognized that the coronavirus pandemic would be a “marathon not a sprint,” but she said it was “a myth that Sweden has not taken serious steps.”
“I think every country needs to take its own measures according to its traditions and its system of government,” she said. “The real fear if you have too harsh measures is that they can’t be sustained over time and you can get a counter reaction and people will not respect the voluntary recommendations that will need to be respected for a very long time.”
“We don’t want to fatigue the population and it is a fact that the Swedish people are to a very large extent supportive,” she said.
Asked if the Swedish government was following a “herd immunity” strategy, she said: “That is not the strategy … The strategy is to try to confirm the spread of the virus and to limit the deaths.”