The decision to exclude Portugal from the UK’s list of quarantine-exempt countries last week came as a shock to British holidaymakers. Until recently, with its high testing rates, low death toll and political unity, Portugal was the model to follow to defeat coronavirus. In June, however, up to 700,000 Portuguese were suddenly forced back into lockdown.
In May, the World Health Organisation (WHO) congratulated Swedish society for keeping the virus at bay without going into lockdown. But come July, serious questions are being raised about the way the Scandinavian country is managing Covid-19.
On June 24th, the only two countries in Europe with areas where there were more than 120 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the previous 14 days were Sweden and, far behind it, Portugal.
While the WHO recently praised the action of Spain and Italy for turning around the bad epidemiological situation they had started from, just a few days ago the agency included Sweden on a list of 11 European countries where the coronavirus had recently made a resurgence.
Sweden, far from making efforts to try to reverse the situation, replied that the WHO report was a ”total misinterpretation of the data” since the Scandinavian country is now testing more, hence more cases are being detected, argued Anders Tegnell, the Swedish state epidemiologist.
“It seems a bit arrogant, doesn’t it?” says Manuel Felices, a Spanish surgeon and head of the surgery department at the NÄL hospital, north of Gothenburg, Sweden. The country is also accused of arrogance by its other Scandinavian neighbours, where there has been a total of 1,200 deaths out of a population of 17 million, while in Sweden there have been over 5,000 deaths out of a population of 10 million.
“The virus has been underestimated,” says Felices. This statement, which could apply to almost everywhere in the world, is perhaps more appropriate in Sweden, taking into account that the government not only refused from the start to...