Sweden’s coronavirus herd immunity plan ‘vindicated’ as just 1.3% of residents test positive despite no lockdown

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SWEDEN’S coronavirus policy which favoured “herd immunity” over a national lockdown was justified experts say.

The claims come after it emerged only 1.2 per cent of people tested for Covid-19 actually have the disease — compared to the pandemic peak when 19 per cent tested positive.

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So far the nation has recorded 5,838 deaths due to Covid-19 —  the fifth-highest rate per capita in Europe .

But new infection numbers have been plummeting since June despite having no lockdown or other restrictions.

Whereas many countries have imposed rules, Sweden has simply offered advice on how to avoid catching the bug.

Jonas Ludvigsson, professor of epidemiology at Karolinska Institute, said:  “Our strategy has been consistent and sustainable”.

The professor added that Sweden likely had a higher level of immunity in the population than most countries.

“I think we benefit a lot from that now,” he said.

Sweden’s government aimed to “solve the crisis with as few negative consequences as possible for people’s lives and health”.

Rather than carry out a strict lockdown, it issued numerous guidelines to help people through the coronavirus pandemic such as staying home if they were ill, washing hands and social distancing.

But it says that its general guidelines were not binding and only a recommendation.

Meanwhile no businesses were forced to shut down, as Sweden wanted to limit the impact on its economy.

Director of Swedish public health Johan Carlson, who was a leading figure behind the herd immunity policy, said it appeared now to have worked. 

He said: “The purpose of our approach is for people themselves to understand the need to follow the recommendations and guidelines that exist.

“There are no other tricks before there are available medical measures, primarily vaccines. 

“The Swedish population has taken this to heart.”

It comes as business leaders in the UK are pleading with Prime Minister Boris Johnson to avoid a second lockdown amid a rise in confirmed Covid-19 cases.

Christopher Snowdon of the Institute of Economic Affairs said: “With UK case numbers at a fraction of where they were back in March, a second lockdown would be catastrophic and should be avoided.

“Sweden has shown us a more sensible way to balance risk, liberty and the economy. 

“The Government’s justification for the nationwide lockdown in March was to protect the NHS. 

“After six months of preparation, it is very unlikely that the NHS will be overwhelmed by a second wave.”

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