Was Sweden’s coronavirus policy right or wrong?

Published 2/12, 2020 at 11:29

Sweden, where I am located, is right now in the middle of the second wave of the Corona pandemic.

 The number of people falling ill is increasing every day and there are no signs that the curve is flattening. Also, the number of deaths is increasing, ranging from between 10 to 30 deaths per day. It is far from as bad as it was during the spring though, with fewer people dying and in need of intensive care. So far, the health care system is coping with the situation, but it is very close to full reaching capacity. 

The general restrictions in the country have been much sharper that previously and it is recommended that people in Sweden only socialise within the family group, with a maximum of eight people being able to meet together. But still our restaurants are open, although alcohol is only allowed to be served until 22.00hrs. Sweden has been criticised for having a too relaxed attitude when it comes to restrictions and critical voices say that it is the reason why the death toll now is over 6,200 people in a country with a population a little bit over 10M. Neighbouring countries such as Norway, Finland and Denmark have death tolls not exceeding 1,000 people. The Public Health Agency of Sweden has received both positive and negative criticism for how the pandemic has been handled. In my view there have been both good and bad decisions. 

For instance, not completely shutting down the country has kept businesses running so far through the whole pandemic, although other things have been less good, like for instance the agency’s rather stubborn position when it comes to not requiring facemasks be worn in public places. We are told that the masks don’t provide much protection from the virus. But now however the agency is voicing concerns and is now recommending people wear facemasks, stating that they actually can limit the spread of the disease. Hence, whilst we are now seeing the infection curve start to flatten in many other European countries, it is believed that Sweden might have to wait until mid-December until we see a change for the better.

There are signs of ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ however with the planned start of distribution of a vaccine during the first quarter of 2021. If the vaccines can provide protection against the virus the world might come back to some sort of normal life in the second half of 2021. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

When it comes to business in the demolition and concrete cutting sectors, contractors seem to be rather busy anyway, but this situation varies from country to country. The sale of consumables has rather increased than decreased, but sales of machinery and equipment are down a bit. There is for sure a pent-up need to ‘do business’ both among contractors and suppliers. I think that when we have successfully dealt with the pandemic and the vaccine has been distributed globally, the world will see a financial upturn as a result of the ‘lid’ being removed. It should be remembered that the economic problems we are encountering are not due to a financial crisis or a downturn in the market, but due to the effects of the pandemic, resulting in one of the worse recessions the world has experienced.

 Even though we as a trade magazine are affected severely by the pandemic advertising wise, there are still a lot of things to write about. This issue of PDi carries, amongst other things, our annual feature on new concrete floor preparation equipment reporting on a great deal of new activity in the market. We have also our special hydrodemolition feature on new equipment and road saws. On top of that, there are a lot of other interesting news and stories. So frankly, the business is alive despite the pandemic. But whatever your activities, please take care out there!            

Jan Hermansson

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