SWEDEN has announced its biggest daily jump in coronavirus deaths – but the country's Prime Minister still refuses to lock the country down.
The death toll jumped by 76 – around 20 per cent – bringing the total Covid-19 fatalities from 401 to 477 on Monday.
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The number of confirmed cases jumped by 376, taking the overall tally from 6,830 to 7,206 infections.
But despite rising numbers and warnings from Prime Minister Stefan Löfven that thousands could die, the country is taking a relaxed approach to the pandemic.
Löfven has told his country to prepare for thousands of deaths from the pandemic.
But he told citizens to "each take responsibility" for slowing the spread of the disease.
Only the most vulnerable in the country have been advised to self-isolate at home.
Bars and restaurants are still open along with primary schools and shops.
On Monday,the government proposed a bill to gain additional power, which could limit public gatherings or close businesses without parliament's approval.
Health minister Lene Hallengren said in a statement:"Sweden and the world are in a serious situation due to the coronavirus.
"We see a need to be able to act quickly if the situation calls for it, it is ultimately about protecting human lives."
Sweden has now reluctantly tightened some of its social distancing regulations after widespread criticism.
It cut the numbers of people allowed to gather from 499 to 49, and ordered bars and restaurants to offer table service only.
But despite the PM’s chilling warning, he still refused to order a full nationwide lockdown.
And he played down what critics have called the government’s “softer” approach when compared to other countries.
Lofven said: “I don’t think you ought to dramatise [the differences].
“We’re doing it in a somewhat different way. Sometimes that is because we are in different phases [of the pandemic].”
Lofven previously said a full lockdown was unnecessary as his government trusted Swedes to behave “like adults” and socially distance if they were ill.
But the relaxed measures have raised alarm in the country's medical community.
A petition signed by more than 2,300 doctors, scientists, and professors has called on the government to get tough and tighten restrictions.
Prof Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér, a virus expert at the Karolinska Institute, said: “We’re not testing enough, we’re not tracking, we’re not isolating enough – we've let the virus loose.
“They are leading us to catastrophe.”
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However, the scientist leading Sweden's lockdown battle yesterday said Britain's lockdown goes too far.
Anders Tegnell, who studied at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, told the Mail on Sunday: "I am very sceptical of lockdowns altogether but if you ever do them, you should do them at an early stage.
"At certain times I suppose they can be useful, if you are unprepared and need more intensive care facilities, for example, but you are really just pushing the problem ahead of you."
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