Sweden, whose softer approach to the new coronavirus pandemic has garnered worldwide attention, recorded its deadliest month in almost three decades in April, according to statistics released on Monday.
Sweden has stopped short of introducing the restrictive lockdowns seen elsewhere in Europe, instead opting for an approach based on the "principle of responsibility".
The Scandinavian country has kept schools open for children under the age of 16, along with cafes, bars, restaurants and businesses, and urged people to respect social distancing guidelines.
A total of 10,458 deaths were recorded in the country of 10.3 million inhabitants in April, Statistics Sweden said.
"We have to go back to December 1993 to find more dead during a single month," Tomas Johansson, population statistician at Statistics Sweden, said in a statement.
In total, 97,008 deaths were recorded in Sweden during the whole of 1993, which in turn was the deadliest year since 1918, when the Spanish flu pandemic ravaged the country.
Johansson told AFP there was no official breakdown explaining the high death toll in December 1993 but said there was a flu epidemic at the time.
According to preliminary data, the number of deaths has been on the decline since the end of April, including in Stockholm -- the epicenter of the Swedish epidemic -- where the highest number of deaths were recorded in early April.
The Swedish approach to the novel coronavirus has come under criticism both at home and abroad, particularly as the number of deaths has far exceeded those in neighboring Nordic countries, which have all imposed more restrictive containment measures.
On Monday, Sweden reported a total of 30,377 confirmed cased of the new coronavirus and 3,698 deaths.