Swedish opposition demands coronavirus commission

Sweden's two biggest opposition parties called on Friday for an independent commission to be appointed within weeks to probe the country's response to the coronavirus.

Swedish opposition demands coronavirus commission
People walk in Drottninggatan in Stockholm on May 29, 2020, amid the coronavirus pandemic. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

The conservative Moderate Party and the populist Sweden Democrats said they wanted a commission in place before the summer.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, a Social Democrat, has repeatedly expressed support for a commission but has said he would appoint one after the pandemic was over.

There has been broad political unity over Sweden's softer approach to the new coronavirus, but most parties have agreed on the need to examine the government's crisis management.

Sweden, which on Friday reported 4,350 COVID-19 deaths, has struggled to protect its elderly from the illness, with more than three quarters of the dead residing in nursing homes or receiving at-home care.

A commission would also be likely to examine the country's economic response to the crisis, and its slow roll-out of testing for the illness.

While the government has raised its testing capacity to 100,000 tests a week, Sweden was at the end of May still only testing around 30,000 people a week due to bureaucratic bottlenecks.

“There are many parties that agree with us that (a commission) should be appointed as soon as possible and not wait until after the crisis,” Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson told reporters.

He said he would raise the issue in parliament next week if Lofven did not move on the issue. Kristersson's proposal enjoys broad support in parliament.


Member comments

  1. As a Portuguese living in Sweden,I am petrified with the Swedish notion of logic. The government trusts the population to behave correctly and not contaminate the fellow citizen by a deadly virus. But does not trust and therefore prohibits population to buy a simple bottle of wine from supermarkets.
    I find it very bizzar

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Swedish opposition proposes ‘rapid tests for ADHD’ to cut gang crime

The Moderate Party in Stockholm has called for children in so called "vulnerable areas" to be given rapid tests for ADHD to increase treatment and cut gang crime.

Swedish opposition proposes 'rapid tests for ADHD' to cut gang crime

In a press release, the party proposed that treating more children in troubled city areas would help prevent gang crime, given that “people with ADHD diagnoses are “significantly over-represented in the country’s jails”. 

The idea is that children in so-called “vulnerable areas”, which in Sweden normally have a high majority of first and second-generation generation immigrants, will be given “simpler, voluntary tests”, which would screen for ADHD, with those suspected of having the neuropsychiatric disorder then put forward for proper evaluations to be given by a child psychiatrist. 

“The quicker you can put in place measures, the better the outcomes,” says Irene Svenonius, the party’s leader in the municipality, of ADHD treatment, claiming that children in Sweden with an immigrant background were less likely to be medicated for ADHD than other children in Sweden. 

In the press release, the party said that there were “significant differences in the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD within Stockholm country”, with Swedish-born children receiving diagnosis and treatment to a higher extent, and with ADHD “with the greatest probability” underdiagnosed in vulnerable areas. 

At a press conference, the party’s justice spokesman Johan Forsell, said that identifying children with ADHD in this areas would help fight gang crime. 

“We need to find these children, and that is going to help prevent crime,” he said. 

Sweden’s climate minister Annika Strandhäll accused the Moderates of wanting to “medicate away criminality”. 

Lotta Häyrynen, editor of the trade union-backed comment site Nya Mitten, pointed out that the Moderates’s claim to want to help children with neuropsychiatric diagnoses in vulnerable areas would be more credible if they had not closed down seven child and youth psychiatry units. 

The Moderate Party MP and debater Hanif Bali complained about the opposition from left-wing commentators and politicians.

“My spontaneous guess would have been that the Left would have thought it was enormously unjust that three times so many immigrant children are not getting a diagnosis or treatment compared to pure-Swedish children,” he said. “Their hate for the Right is stronger than their care for the children. 

Swedish vocab: brottsförebyggande – preventative of crime