İrem UZUN -TDO- Sweden's king has said his country failed to save lives with its relatively relaxed approach to the coronavirus pandemic. The 74-year-old king also admitted that his own fears about catching the virus have increased.
King Carl XVI Gustaf made the remarks as part of an annual TV review of the year with the royal family. In the program, the king says "I think we have failed. We have a large number who have died and that is terrible. "The people of Sweden have suffered tremendously in difficult conditions. One thinks of all the family members who have happened to be unable to say goodbye to their deceased family members. I think it is a tough and traumatic experience not to be able to say a warm goodbye."
Sweden initially took a different approach to the pandemic than its Nordic neighbors, Norway and Denmark, as well as other nations in Europe. The government never imposed lockdowns or mandated face masks, allowed restaurants and businesses to remain open, and relied mainly on voluntary social distancing and hygiene recommendations to slow the spread. But the nation saw a rising death toll, particularly among elderly residents of care facilities, and its per capita death rate far exceeded that of Norway and Denmark.
Earlier this week, schools across the Stockholm region were asked to switch to distance learning for 13 to 15-year-olds for the first time as soon as possible. On Monday, new nationwide social-distancing recommendations for the Christmas period came into force, replacing similar region-specific guidelines. Swedes are advised to meet a maximum of eight people, gather outdoors if possible and avoid travelling by train or bus.