Sweden’s prime minister came under attack from opposition parties late Sunday for his government’s controversial, light-touch response to the coronavirus pandemic, as deaths continue to rise and the policy’s own architect has expressed some regrets.
Until this weekend, Bloomberg reported, lawmakers had observed a kind of truce on the Scandinavian country’s unique strategy: Keep most of society open, state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell had insisted, to avoid economic chaos and build up resilience to a second wave of infections.
At a televised debate between party leaders Sunday, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven acknowledged some shortcomings in policy, including too many fatalities in nursing homes and not enough early testing. But he nonetheless defended the governmental response.
“The strategy is the right one,” he said, according to Bloomberg.
Yet with Swedes’ approval of the approach tanking by nearly 20 percentage points down to 45 percent, according to one poll, opposition party leaders used the debate to offer a scathing rebuke of Lofven’s center-left government.
Ulf Kristersson, the leader of the Moderates, the main opposition party, said Sweden’s response has been marred by “obvious, fundamental failures,” such as being too slow in providing nursing homes with protective equipment.
And Ebba Busch, who heads the Christian Democrat party, accused Lofven of deliberately allowing for the wide spread of the virus.
“In a difficult crisis, we will always be leaderless as long as this government is in power,” Busch said.