Sweden refuses to bring in lockdowns despite 2,272 infections, keeps bars open and even encourages people to go out

While most of Europe is firmly locked down in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19, Sweden is taking a softer line, keeping primary schools, restaurants and bars open and even encouraging people to go outside for a nip of air.

This stands in stark contrast to the urgent tone elsewhere and has sparked heated debate whether Sweden is really doing the right thing.

The country has reported more than 2,299 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 41 deaths.

'We cannot allow the human desperation in Wuhan and Bergamo to be repeated in Sweden. That would be a gamble that violates society's most fundamental principle: that every person has an inherent value,' the editor-in-chief of Sweden's biggest newspaper, Dagens Nyheter, wrote on Sunday, calling for either tougher measures or more widespread coronavirus testing.

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, in a televised speech on Sunday, urged people to 'take responsibility' and follow the government's recommendations.
Smile, it's just coronavirus - people take photos among cherry trees in a park in Stockholm
Those include working from home if you can, staying home if you feel sick, practice social distancing, and stay home if you belong to a risk group or are over the age of 70.

Gatherings of more than 500 people have been banned - compared to more than two people in Britain and Germany - and the government has advised secondary schools and universities to close their facilities and conduct classes online.

Cases of people infected with coronavirus in the UK stands at 8,078 with 422 dead.

In Spain, there are 47,610 people infected and some 3,434 dead.

Whereas in Germany there are 33,954 people infected and 171 dead. 

On Tuesday, the Swedish government announced that restaurants and bars would only be allowed to provide table service to avoid crowding, but stopped short of actually closing them.

Health authorities also urged people to reconsider trips to visit relatives over Easter.

But for many, life is carrying on close to normal.

Bars and restaurants were full at the weekend, and Stockholm's city buses have been jam-packed at rush hour despite the social distancing recommendations.

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