Prime Minister Robert Abela came close to defending Sweden’s controversial approach to COVID-19, suggesting it might have worked for the Scandinavian country but won’t for other countries.
“Sweden adopted a different model, it doesn’t necessarily work for every society but whether it worked or not in that particular country is something we can discuss and debate forever,” Abela told a press conference tonight in which he announced an 11pm curfew for restaurants and bars and the mandatory wearing of masks practically everywhere.
Unlike most European countries, Sweden didn’t go into lockdown when the COVID-19 pandemic hit at the start of the year, instead prohibiting large public gatherings and encouraging remote working while allowing schools and businesses to remain open. It hasn’t recommended or enforced the wearing of masks either.
Sweden’s relatively high COVID-19 mortality rate at the start of the year led to significant global criticism, but it has since slowed down significantly and is currently one of the lowest in Europe.
Abela said countries must calibrate the infection rate, mortality rate and capability of its medical facilities when taking COVID-19-related measures.
“Malta has an advantage over other countries in terms of its medical facilities because we spent several millions to build up a reserve, something we were only able to do because our economy permitted it,” he said.