Long resistant to implementing a lockdown, favoring the herd immunity approach instead, authorities the Netherlands and Sweden have come under increasing pressure in recent days to change tack.
The Netherlands has passed the 10,000 case milestone, with the most recent figures revealing that 11,750 people have tested positive for Covid-19, with 864 deaths, according to the Dutch institute for public health and the environment. And if, for the time being at least, people can still move about freely, schools, bars restaurants and coffee shops have been shut since mid March. Casinos joined that list on March 24th. The Dutch equivalent of the A-Levels has been cancelled and all public events and gatherings, with the exception of marriages and funerals, have been banned until June 1st. Prime minister Mark Rutte has said that a lockdown would be the next step to take. And the signs now point to that being imminent.
In Sweden, life has continued pretty much as normal. There have been very little closures due to the outbreak, which has claimed around 150 deaths so far, with the government content to counsel the populace to take reasonable precautions such as practice social distancing, especially around the elderly, work from home if they can and staying there should they get sick.
But here too things have started to tighten up. Amid rising criticism of the government's laissez-faire approach, Stockholm drastically cut the number of people permitted to gather in one place from 500 to 50 at the weekend.