According to the Nation Brands Index, a survey of 60,000 people across 20 countries, Sweden is now comfortably in the top ten of the 60 countries surveyed as having the “greatest net performance for health crisis management”.
Germany led the list, with Canada and Switzerland in second and third place.
Madeleine Sjöstedt, Director General of the Swedish Institute, said that Sweden’s position was “very positive”, however the institute wrote that Sweden had risen from 15th to 7th place in the past year, which Ipsos confirmed to The Local was inaccurate.
“Initially, Sweden’s handling of the pandemic created a great deal of international attention,” said Sjöstedt in a press release. “According to our studies, Sweden’s handling of the pandemic is being reported on much less frequently globally, and our country is often perceived to have acted consistently during the pandemic.”
Australia and New Zealand, which have taken a Zero Covid approach almost diametrically opposed to that of Sweden, ranked fourth and fifth.
Sweden’s neighbours Norway and Finland, meanwhile which have both had about a tenth as many Covid-19 deaths per capita as Sweden has, ranked sixth and eighth respectively. Denmark was not one of the 60 nations appraised.
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The health crisis ranking is part of the Nation Brand Index study, the full results of which will be released in October. Jason McGrath, Head of Corporate Reputation at Ipsos, told The Local that Sweden was ranked 15th in 2020 overall in the Nation Brand Index, encompassing several different areas, while the seventh place score was for health crises alone, a metric which was not measured in the 2020 survey.
“We have not yet released our comprehensive NBI rankings for 2021, so the health crisis data we just released cannot be compared to last year’s overall ranking as these are not comparable metrics. It is inaccurate to say that Sweden improved from 15th in 2020 to 7th in 2021,” said McGrath.
The polling company Ispos did say that the countries which had made the top-ten list were those that had since last autumn done the best job at driving through vaccinations and containing outbreaks.
“The top ten nations which survey respondents rate the highest on performance of handling healthcare crises, like the Covid-19 pandemic, are those that have made significant progress in vaccine distribution and containing breakouts of Covid-19 within their domestic borders,” it said.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect clarifications from Ipsos about the nature of the study. An earlier version of this article stated that Sweden rose from being ranked 15th to 7th.