Sweden's approach to coronavirus isn't that different to other European countries, an expert from the country has said.
Dr Johan Giesecke - the former State Epidemiologist for Sweden and member of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group to the WHO - says there is more of a focus in Sweden on trusting people to follow recommendations, rather than legislation.
He spoke to the Oireachtas COVID-19 Committee today, calling on the Government to allow a controlled spread of the virus among younger people.
Sweden's overall approach has proven to be of significant interest to researchers, due to the comparatively light restrictions introduced during the early stages of the pandemic.
The high death rates in the country compared to its Scandinavian neighbours led to significant criticism, but officials in the country have said their recent low rates of the virus are evidence their approach has worked.
Dr Giesecke told The Hard Shoulder that Sweden's approach is not as different as people think.
He explained: "There's less legislation, and more trusting people to follow recommendations from authorities... the outcome from that is not much different than yours, for example.
"The main aim has been to protect the old and the vulnerable, most of them living in care homes. They make up more than 60% of the deaths so far.
"We had the same problem as anyone else - that healthcare shouldn't be overburdened, and 'flattening the curve' as it was. That was important at the start of the epidemic."
'There is public buy-in'
Dr Giesecke noted that Sweden has also become much more local in their response to outbreaks, rather than a full national approach.
However, he stressed that all Swedish people have been following the same sort of advice as people elsewhere in the world.
He explained: "The entire population is being addressed with [advice such as] social distancing, stay at home if you're sick, wash your hands... that applies to everyone, regardless of age.
"[Compliance] is higher than you would think. There is a public buy-in, that's clear. One thing Sweden has done differently is we haven't changed the recommendations or restrictions almost at all since March or April... whereas other people increase their lockdown, or go in or out of lockdown.
"One benefit of our choice is that everyone knows what applies right now."
Dr Giesecke cautioned that Sweden has seen an increase in case numbers recently, like most other parts of Europe.
He said: "The case numbers have increased over the last three weeks, week by week. We are holding our breath for this week."