Deadly day after nation ignores lockdown
Sweden suffered its highest daily coronavirus death toll with 185 fatalities as the country refuses to go into lockdown.
Sweden is the only country in Europe to not have imposed lockdown measures on its public, reports The Sun.
Sweden's figures have fluctuated over the last two weeks with low figures experienced over the weekends including yesterday and Sunday.
The country's public health agency had reported only 29 new coronavirus deaths last Sunday and 40 yesterday.
Today's increase of 185 deaths has been the largest increase that Sweden has had, bringing the total deaths to 1765.
Yesterday the number of positive cases also increased by 545, a significant increase on yesterday's 392, taking the total number of infections from 14,777 to 15,322.
Last Thursday and Friday, Sweden saw a spike of 613 and 676 new cases but brought no new restrictions in.
Meanwhile, the UK is believed to have passed its first peak as the death toll rose today by 828 - bringing the total to 17,337 with 129,000 cases.
Britain had only 3279 cases and 177 deaths when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced cafes, pubs and bars should close on March 20.
And on March 24 a full lockdown was imposed as the death toll reached 335 and the total case count was 8,077.
With almost double the number of cases compared to when the UK went into lockdown, Sweden continues its markedly different approach to the rest of Europe.
The government's move has sparked criticism from some scientists and academics.
It has also caused alarm from some of its European neighbours.
Sweden is currently tenth in the total figures when you factor in its size - having a population of 10 million.
The current figures have the nation suffering 175 deaths per million people, compared to the much larger - and locked down - UK's 255 per million from population of 66.5 million.
Schools, bars and restaurants remain open in Sweden while public gatherings of up to 50 people are still permitted.
Officials say that "people in Sweden have a high level of trust in government agencies" meaning that advisory measures have been widely followed.
Government ministers have promised a huge increase in testing so that frontline works can be screened for the virus.
Health minister Lena Hallengren said: "We are talking about testing and analysis capacity of 50,000, perhaps as many as 100,000, a week."
So far Ms Hallengren said that almost 75,000 people have been tested.
Sweden's neighbour Denmark is now reopening schools for children aged 11 and under from tomorrow, but other restrictions remain until May 11.
PM Mette Frederiksen compared it to walking a tightrope, saying: "If we open Denmark too quickly, we risk infections rising too sharply and then we'll have to close down again."
It was announced earlier today that Sweden shut down the last its Chinese state-sponsored teaching programs as relations between the two countries continue to sour.
According to the Times, Sweden is believed to be the first European state to close all its Confucius institutes and classrooms, which teach Chinese language and culture with textbooks and funding from Beijing.
Analysts have regarded the closure as a sign that the relationship between the two countries is unravelling amid accusations of bullying, meddling and incompetence.
Originally published as Deadly day after nation ignores lockdown