King of Sweden says “failed” over Covid-19 as dead grow

STOCKHOLM – The King of Sweden has said his country has failed to manage Covid-19 in a sharp critique of a pandemic policy, partly blamed for a large number of deaths among the elderly.

“I think I failed,” the king said in an excerpt from a program broadcast by SVT on Wednesday. The full show airs on December 21.

Carl XVI Gustaf, whose son and daughter-in-law proved positive last month, used a special annual royal television to highlight the growing impact of the virus in a rare speech by a monarch whose duties are largely ceremonial.

Sweden has stood out from most countries, avoiding closures and face masks, leaving schools, restaurants and companies largely open and relying mainly on voluntary social distancing and hygiene recommendations to slow the spread.

A nurse vaccinates a person against the flu to prevent the spread of coronavirus in Trelleborg, southern Sweden.TT NEWS AGENCY / Reuters

An official commission said on Tuesday that systemic deficiencies in the care of the elderly, together with inadequate measures by the government and agencies, had contributed to an increase in the particularly high number of Swedes in nursing homes.

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“We have had a large number of deaths and this is terrible. This is something that brings us all suffering.”

Sweden has more than 7,800 deaths, a much higher per capita rate than its northern neighbors, but lower than in the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain or France, which have opted for blockades.

The 74-year-old king has no formal political power and rarely comments on current and political issues, although he addressed the nation to provide encouragement during the outbreak.

In the spring, the government’s response to the pandemic was widely supported by Swedes who continued as normal, while most of Europe came to a standstill.

But the rising death toll – especially among the elderly living in nursing homes – has drawn increasing criticism.

A poll in Dagens Nyheter on Thursday showed that about a third of Swedes expressed a high level of confidence in the pandemic’s management by authorities, down from 42 percent in March and a peak of 56 percent after the summer break. of infections.