- The World Health Organization held a media briefing on 29 April to update the public on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
- Governments will need to change their relationship with the public to manage the virus in the long term.
- Sweden’s approach – a combination of trust and strategic controls – could provide a key model for other countries.
Governments looking for long-term solutions for managing COVID-19 could start with their relationship with the general public, Michael J. Ryan, Chief Executive Director of the World Health Organization Health (WHO) Emergencies Programme said at a briefing Wednesday.
Sweden has gained attention worldwide for its unique approach to managing the virus. The country has not implemented many of the lockdown measures taken around the globe. For instance, while gatherings of more than 50 people are banned, restaurants and bars have remained open.
Ryan said the country has, however, adopted a range of measures to help tackle the virus. Sweden has ramped up its intensive care capacity, has a strong public health policy around physical distancing and key protections in place for those in long-term care facilities, all of which have helped its health system cope with COVID-19 cases.
That trust, combined with strategic controls and clear communication, could provide a template for other countries that are loosening lockdown restrictions to safely adapt to a new normal. Ryan said: “If we are to reach a new normal, in many ways Sweden represents a future model.”
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