- Boris Johnson was briefed by the architect of Sweden’s no-lockdown policy, Anders Tegnell, before announcing new coronavirus restrictions this week.
- The new restrictions, which include a curfew on bars and restaurants, fell short of much tougher measures reportedly being pushed by his own scientific advisers.
- Tegnell was the architect of Sweden’s decision not to impose a full lockdown earlier this year.
- Sweden has gone on to record a much higher death rate than its neighbours.
- However, current data suggests the Nordic country is not experiencing a second wave, unlike the UK.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson was advised by Anders Tegnell, the man behind Sweden’s decision not to impose a full coronavirus lockdown, before rejecting tougher new restrictions for the United Kingdom.
Downing Street on Thursday confirmed a Spectator magazine report that Johnson had been briefed by a series of international experts, outside his normal circle of advisers, before announcing the new measures.
The new restrictions, which included a curfew on bars and restaurants in England, stopped short of much tougher measures reportedly being pushed by his own chief medical adviser.
Among those briefing, the prime minister was Anders Tegnell, the architect of the Swedish government’s controversial response to the pandemic.
A spokesman for Johnson said: “On Sunday, the PM took evidence sessions from a number of scientists via Zoom. The Prime Minister was in the Cabinet room and he [Tegnell] was one of the contributors.”
Unlike its Nordic neighbours and most other countries, Sweden did not impose wholesale lockdown measures in response to the initial coronavirus outbreak earlier this year. Instead, it allowed shops, bars, and restaurants to remain largely open and students to attend school, with the aim of avoiding a second spike in cases later in 2020.
Sweden has gone on to record a much higher death rate than any of its neighbours since adopting this strategy. 5,876 Swedes had died after catching the coronavirus as of Thursday morning, while just 267 had died in Norway.
Supporters of Sweden’s response — including some Conservative members of Parliament — are pointing to the fact that Sweden is not witnessing a significant second national surge in coronavirus cases, unlike the UK, Spain, and France, with some scientists beginning to suggest that the country has achieved a sufficient level of immunity for avoiding a second wave.
However, the country is considering a strict local lockdown in Stockholm after a recent spike in infections in the country’s capital.
Johnson on Tuesday announced a 10pm curfew on the hospitality industry in England and advised people to work from home where possible after his government spent weeks urging workers to return to their offices.
However, the UK government’s new restrictions did not go as far as those introduced this week in Scotland and Northern Ireland, where the devolved administrations have banned different households mixing indoors.