King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden has said his nation’s approach to dealing with the coronavirus pandemic has failed. Speaking in a TV programme, the Swedish monarch said ”I think we have failed. We have a large number who have died and that is terrible.”
Sweden has taken one of the most notably relaxed approaches in the world to dealing with the pandemic. The country has never held a full lockdown and most measures to control the spread are advisory rather than compulsory. Since the outbreak began, Sweden has recorded over 7,800 deaths, a much higher toll than neighbouring Scandinavian nations.
Carl XVI Gustaf made his comments in a pre-recorded interview, set to be broadcast in full on December 21st 2020. The King of Sweden added ‘The people of Sweden have suffered tremendously in difficult conditions. One thinks of all the family members who have happened to be unable to say goodbye to their deceased family members. I think it is a tough and traumatic experience not to be able to say a warm goodbye.”
The King, who is 74, was asked if he had concerns about contracting the virus himself. He replied ”Lately, it has felt more obvious, it has crept closer and closer. That’s not what you want.”
Carl Gustaf’s only son, Prince Carl Philip, has recently recovered from coronavirus. The 41 year old spent several weeks in isolation alongside his wife, Princess Sofia, 36, who also contracted the illness. Soon after their return to full health was announced, the couple confirmed they are expecting a third baby, due in the early spring.
The comments are a rare foray into political matters for Carl Gustaf who has ruled Sweden for 47 years. However, there was no criticism from the country’s Prime Minister, Stefan Lofven. Speaking after the comments became public, he said ”the fact that so many have died can’t be considered as anything other than a failure” but continued that a proper verdict on the strategy wouldn’t possible until after the pandemic was over.