Caller highlights 'stark' difference in Swedish and British coronavirus responses

19 September 2020, 17:58 | Updated: 19 September 2020, 17:59

By Seán Hickey

This caller had travelled in Sweden during the height of coronavirus restrictions in the UK, and described just how big a difference in strategy the UK has to the Scandinavian country.

Christian phoned in from Manchester to tell David Lammy that his time spent in Sweden during the summer was "a joy." He said that the coronavirus response in the UK "feels completely different" to that of Sweden, where he revealed he barely spoke about the pandemic and locals didn't wear masks.

David Lammy wondered if the caller could see evidence of voluntary social distancing rules in Sweden while he was there, which may have explained how the nation saw a reduction in cases during the summer. "No more so than I see in the UK," he admitted.

"You go to Spain it's much more strict," Christian noted, adding that he was struck by the extent to which rules were enforced in Spain while spending time there.

He couldn't explain how cases were on the rise in Spain, but Sweden's situation is different. "What is happening there is the absolute opposite to what's happening in Spain," he insisted.

Sweden has often been touted as a success story in the Covid-19 pandemic
Sweden has often been touted as a success story in the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: PA

Based off his experiences in other European nations, David asked the caller "what should we be doing here," to fight the spread of coronavirus.

"The lockdown scenario does not work," Christian said. "There has to be a realisation that we have to live with this."

"All the signs are is that what they're doing is working and what we're doing isn't."

He concluded the call by telling David that the UK has been "relying on people behaving sensibly" to reduce the rate of infection and he still has faith this can be done.