SWEDEN says it was wrong not to impose lockdown rules adding if it knew thousands would die it would have probably followed the rest of Europe.
The frank admission comes just days after it was revealed the Scandinavian country had the highest Covid-19 death rate per capita of anywhere in the world.
In a radio interview, Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell said he agreed too many people had now died.
“If we would encounter the same disease, with exactly what we know about it today, I think we would land midway between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world did,” he said.
It would be “good to know exactly what to shut down to curb the spread of infection better”, he then added.
Sweden has recorded 4,542 deaths and 40,803 infections in a population of 10 million, while Denmark, Norway and Finland who imposed lockdowns have seen much lower rates.
Denmark has seen 580 deaths, Norway has had 237 deaths and Finland 321 while Sweden reported a further 74 deaths today alone.
However, Sweden’s death rate is still far lower than that the UK – which has seen nearly 40,000 die.
This week the Swedish government bowed to mounting opposition pressure and promised to set up a commission to look into its controversial Covid-19 strategy.
Sweden has taken a soft-touch approach to fighting the virus, leaving most schools, shops and restaurants open and relying on voluntary measures focused on social distancing and good hygiene.
It also banned gatherings of more than 50 people and halted visits to elderly care homes.
Non-essential travel is still not recommended under national guidelines, but journeys of up to two hours are allowed to see relatives or close friends.
However, this relaxed response reportedly resulted in Swedes failing to take heed of the message to stay home while suffering coronavirus symptoms.
And they have not done enough to stop the spread, including taking extra hygiene measures such as washing their hands more thoroughly.
Last week, the Swedish model was described by former state epidemiologist Annika Linde as “not the smartest”.
Pointing to Sweden’s Nordic neighbours, the virologist told Expressen they had “succeeded quite well” by comparison in limiting the killer bug’s rampage through their countries.
“The Swedish model may not have been the smartest in all respects,” Linde said.
But, the 72-year-old said it was completely pointless bringing in a strict lockdown now.
“I don’t think a shutdown will benefit now – I think it’s too late,” Linde said.