Swedish commission to review coronavirus response before next election

Swedish commission to review coronavirus response before next election
The commission into Sweden's handling of the pandemic should be ready before the 2022 election. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT
Sweden plans to appoint an independent commission to probe the country's handling of the coronavirus pandemic -- and its report should be ready before the next election.

According to several party leaders, the government now plans for the review to be completed during the first quarter of 2022. Sweden's next general election will be held in September of the same year. 

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven first announced that a commission would be launched back in May, following demands from the Swedish opposition that this be set up before the summer.

The review will look at the government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, such as not asking Swedes to self-isolate on returning from overseas holidays at the start on the outbreak.

Sweden’s testing numbers strategy will be reviewed, which have long been significantly lower per capita than many other European countries, but have doubled during June to reach just over 61,000 per week.

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Another area many want reviewed is care of the elderly, where there has been a reported lack of protective equipment, and a lack of staff training in how to use the equipment received.

“The government did the only thing reasonable. There were several parties that demanded that this be clear before the election,” said Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson.

He also said it was important that the commission provide a report before too much time had passed, due to the importance of learning quickly when dealing with a pandemic, and to ensure accountability before the election.

Sweden has reported more than 5,000 deaths of Covid-19, with figures far higher than the neighbouring Nordic countries. 

Authorities including the Health Minister, Prime Minister and Public Health Agency have said repeatedly that Sweden failed in its aim of protecting the elderly, and that testing proved more problematic than expected due to difficulties coordinating resources and staff.

But they have largely stuck by the decision not to introduce a society-wide lockdown, as seen across most other countries after reporting community transmission of the disease. 

Since the start of the crisis, there has been broad political consensus over the general approach and focus on voluntary measures rather than a lack of lockdown. 

But recent weeks have seen a sharpening of the political tone, with the conservative Moderates criticising the government for lack of leadership, and the Left Party saying failures in elderly care are the result of decades of cuts. 

 

 


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