Sweden's Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) has so far analyzed tests of 140 suspected cases of the new coronavirus in Sweden, which has sparked headlines around the world in recent months. But apart from one confirmed case in Jönköping, they have all come back negative.
But Swedish health care authorities have, in addition to the confirmed case, only publicly reported six suspected cases, writes western Sweden's regional newspaper Göteborgs-Posten.
Swedish healthcare services are run on a regional level, and there are no guidelines for how much the regions themselves should communicate to the public regarding suspected cases of the virus.
“We come out with information if we have a confirmed case, but of course not for suspected cases. That just turns out wrong,” Eva Lindhusen Lindhé, an infectious disease doctor in the Västra Götaland region, which includes Sweden's second biggest city Gothenburg, told the newspaper.
There have been several suspected cases of the coronavirus in the region, but they were all negative.
The Gävleborg region north of Uppsala publicly announced that a person who had just returned from the city of Wuhan in China was initially thought to show symptoms of the coronavirus.
“The reason was that we considered the public interest to be so great so we chose to (announce it) in this case. There were also special reasons, what with social media, and we wanted to avoid speculation,” infectious disease doctor Signar Mäkitalo told Göteborgs-Posten.
The coronavirus has killed more than 1,000 people – almost all in mainland China – and infected more than 42,000 since it broke out in Wuhan in December. But most people recover from the illness, and Swedish health care authorities believe the risk of contracting the virus in Sweden to be very low.