Anders Tegnell on the Swedish news on coronavirus

The newscaster at the Swedish TV (SVT) is named Anders Holmberg, and he is asking questions of Anders Tegnell. Don’t get confused between them, even though they are both called Anders. Tegnell is the national epidemiologist.

Holmberg: Many people have talked about how much less Sweden does compared to other countries when it comes to putting restrictions on social contact. Some countries have shut-down and entered quarantine, but Sweden has a strategy based more on getting information out and voluntary compliance. What if it turns out that you were wrong about this approach? There’s many people’s lives that are standing in the balance.

Anders Tegnell does not look so amused:

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Anders Tegnell, national epidemiologist

He says: I’m not the one who’s wrong, it’s a national authority  …

Holmberg hurries to say, yes, yes, I meant the Public  Health Authority, you and your colleagues.

Anders Tegnell: We believe that we are taking the entirely correct approach. If you go out on Stockholm’s streets, you’ll see that there are many fewer people out than normal.

Holmberg: So is everyone else in all the other countries just wrong, then?

Tegnell: I’m just not sure that those other countries have achieved anything much beyond what we have, with us using information and voluntary compliance as we usually do in Sweden. I think it’s very important to use the sorts of tools that we already know work within the public health sector. And in Sweden that is built on trust, voluntary compliance, and that each person looks for good solutions. In other countries, there’s other traditions, where you might use laws to force people to take things seriously.

Holmberg, the newscaster, again: But aren’t you worried that it will turn out that you have taken the wrong path?

Tegnell: No one knows at all how this is going to turn out …

Holmberg: that’s not my question, but are you worried?

Tegnell: Of course, everyone is worried, including me, about how this will develop. I’m not so worried that here in Sweden it will turn out much differently compared to other countries. We will all need to confront this in different ways and take different measures. So far, the situation has developed fairly in Sweden. The medical sector continues to cope with the measures we have taken. If we need to take more measures, then we will.

Holmberg: It’s still early now.

Tegnell: Exactly.

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Anders Tegnell interviewed by Anders Holmberg

(By the way, I’m not entirely sure when this interview was conducted, but it was sometime around March 29, 2020).

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