Trust in Sweden’s government coronavirus response declining, poll shows

Sweden's coronavirus strategy and focus on voluntary measures has been built on mutual trust between the population and authorities, but new polls suggest levels of trust in the government's handling of the crisis is falling. But trust in health authorities remains steady.

Trust in Sweden's government coronavirus response declining, poll shows
Trust in Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven fell to 34 percent in August, a new poll shows. Photo: Pontus Lundahl / TT

Only 34 percent of the population think Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has handled the crisis well, down from 49 percent in May, according to an Ipsos poll carried out for the Dagens Nyheter daily in August. The decline has been going on for some months, reaching 39 percent in June.

Asked whether the government as a whole had handled the crisis well, the number who agreed fell from 50 percent in May to 36 percent in August. 

And even trust in the opposition is falling, with only 14 percent saying they had done a good job, down from 20 percent in May and 30 percent during the early days of the crisis in April.

“We're now back to the old pattern with greater polarisation and a higher level of conflict. Then trust in politicians, including the oppositions, falls,” Ipsos opinions analyst Nicklas Källebring told Dagens Nyheter.

Trust in Sweden's state authorities, which are independent from the government, had also fallen, but less drastically.

Almost two thirds (63 percent) had trust in state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, up from 60 percent in June but still a decline on the figure of 69 percent in April. Trust levels in the Public Health Agency were also fairly stable, although slightly down on the figures for May and April.

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Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”