Although the spread of the new coronavirus is increasing, Swedish health officials are opposed to mandates requiring them in some public spaces, according to reports.
“We don’t see that we’re at a point where we can recommend the general use of face masks on public transport,” said Karin Tegmark Weasle, head of the Stockholm Public Health Agency, on Thursday, according to Bloomberg. “Face masks should not be used as an excuse not to stay away.”
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The position directly contradicts a statement issued by the Swedish Academy of Sciences on the same day.
Experts say adequate ventilation and face masks are “important measures”
Staffan Normark, professor of microbiology and chairman of the expert group, cites new evidence that face masks reduce the risk of airborne infection, or in other words, when small, virus-laden particles remain suspended in the air with the potential for inhalation infection.
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“It is equally important to follow the recommendations of the Swedish Public Health Agency,” the statement continued. “But to reduce the infection quickly, we have to use all the tools in the toolbox, and that includes [face] protection and ventilation. “
There are a total of 201,055 infections in Sweden and more than 6,300 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks infections and deaths worldwide. Sweden has registered more than 94,000 new cases in the past month, according to John Hopkins.
As much of the world came to a halt while the new coronavirus took hold in early spring, Sweden arguably took a different approach in trying to balance the health crisis and save its economy.
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The country’s government “deviated from the prevailing wisdom” and did not impose widespread blockades, did not close schools and restaurants and did not restrict the movement of people, Doug Badger, a visiting contributor to The Heritage Foundation, told Fox News.
The government’s approach also focuses on empowering its citizens to adopt sensible practices to avoid the distributor, giving advice – as opposed to decrees – on issues such as social distancing and restricting mass gatherings. Schools never close completely, remaining open to people under the age of 16, and gyms, bars and restaurants remain open.
Fox News’s Holly McKay contributed to this report.
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