Sweden ‘had lower death spike in 2020 than most European countries but fared worse than neighbours’

Sweden had a smaller increase in its mortality rate in 2020 than most other European countries but fared worse than its Nordic neighbours, according to an analysis of official data.

An outlier in its initial approach to strict Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, Sweden recorded 7.7 per cent more deaths last year than its average for the preceding four years, preliminary data from EU statistics agency Eurostat shows.

Sweden imposed few restrictions at the start of the pandemic but passed legislation in January this year,  bringing its approach more into line with the rest of Europe.

Countries that opted for several periods of strict lockdowns last year, such as Spain and Belgium, had so-called excess mortality of 18.1 per cent and 16.2 per cent respectively.

Sweden’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell claimed the data raised doubts about the effectiveness of lockdowns.

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