It’s the start of the new school year in Sweden, and the highly infectious delta variant is starting to hit the country hard, with cases having doubled since the end of July.
In a lot of countries that would mean one thing: lockdown. But not in Sweden. Instead, at Sorgenfri school in central Malmö, the only visible anti-Covid measure is a ban on parents entering the school building.
“I’m not worried at all,” says Elin Brusewitz, 35, as her son played with his skateboard beside her. “We were fine during the last outbreaks. I guess I’m a typical Swede: not worried unless the authorities tell me to be worried.”.
Sweden’s decision to eschew lockdown and leave pubs, restaurants, shopping centres and primary schools open throughout the pandemic generated furious discussion internationally.
Millions of people across the world have been confined to their homes, watched businesses go under, and struggled to stay on top of their studies amid wave after wave of restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
But for some 10 million Swedes, the eighteen months since the first local Covid-19 case was registered last February have been largely unremarkable.
Two-thirds of people are not worried about the consequences of the pandemic for them and their family, according to the most recent opinion survey for the Civil Contingencies Agency, carried out in mid-June.