The number of new coronavirus infections in Sweden has dropped by 54% since late June, the World Health Organisation said Wednesday.

The country has never implemented full lockdown measures and has defended its approach to the virus, which drew international criticism.

According to the WHO report, over the last month, Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands have seen increases between 40% and 200%.

Last month, Sweden was the second most-infected country per capita in the world, but its daily new cases have been decreasing since June 24, when it reported 1,803 new infections. The daily number of deaths in Sweden has been decreasing since mid-April, when it reported a record death count of 115.

“In many ways the voluntary measures we put in place in Sweden have been just as effective as complete lockdowns in other countries”, Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist at Sweden’s public health agency said, and added:

“We are now seeing rapidly falling cases, we have continuously had healthcare that has been working, there have been free beds at any given time, never any crowding in the hospitals. The failure has of course been the death toll that has been very much related to the long-term care facilities in Sweden. Now that has improved, we see a lot less cases in those facilities”.

Sweden, however, ranks eighth among countries with the highest number of COVID-19 deaths per 100,000 people. It outranks the United States and Brazil, which are the world’s first and second worst-hit nations in terms of total cases.


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