Sweden: State Epidemiologist Refuses Responsibility for Retirement Home Deaths

Epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden attends a press conference to update on the COVID-19 coronavirus situation on April 1, 2020 in Solna, Sweden. (Photo by Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP) (Photo by JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images)
JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP via Getty Images

Sweden’s state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has ruled out taking personal responsibility for a surge in Chinese coronavirus outbreaks in retirement homes across the country.

Tegnell, who leads the Swedish Public Health Authority’s campaign against the virus outbreak, said he did not think he bore any personal responsibility for the growing number of confirmed cases now being reported in homes for the elderly, the most at-risk segment of society for fatal cases of the disease.

In recent days, at least 90 Swedish municipalities have reported confirmed coronavirus cases in homes for the elderly and following a press conference, Tegnell told newspaper Aftonbladet, that the situation was “very serious.”

” This is a group that is important to protect because unfortunately they often get very sick. Most of the deaths we see happen in that group,” Tegnell said and admitted that the reports could be seen as a failure in policy.

When asked if he, as the head of the campaign against the virus, bore any personal responsibility, Tegnell said, “No, many people work on these issues. We all have a collective responsibility in society to protect the elderly.”

He went on to claim that the Swedish government ban on visits to elderly homes, which came into force on April 1st, was not given too late and that an earlier ban may not have made any “major difference.”

Maria Placonà, a nurse in an elderly nursing home that has confirmed cases of the virus, said residents are panicked over the outbreak.

“One resident expressed that he is terrified of getting corona. He has high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, and allergies. He is really at risk,” she said.

Contrasted to most other European countries, Sweden has not implemented restrictive lockdown measures, allowing cafes and restaurants to remain open.

Gatherings of up to 50 people are also allowed, in comparison to countries like Britain where the restrictions are as low as two people.

A recent pro-migration protest in Gothenburg amassed a crowd of over 80 individuals.

A general lockdown in Sweden may not possible at all, according to Titti Mattsson, a professor of public law at Lund University, who said that the current Swedish law does not allow for such restrictions on freedom of movement.

Mattson said that the Infection Protection Act could limit movement but argued that “the Infection Protection Act is not clear” about how extensive these limitations can be beyond areas like houses or school buildings.

Prior to the large outbreaks in Italy, Spain, and elsewhere in Europe, Swedish former infection prevention physician Staffan Sylvan blew the whistle on the country’s lack of preparation.

“At present, our hospitals already have major problems in receiving and caring for urgently ill patients. Why this disinformation about our readiness?” he said in late February.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com

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