TheJakartaPost

Please Update your browser

Your browser is out of date, and may not be compatible with our website. A list of the most popular web browsers can be found below.
Just click on the icons to get to the download page.

Jakarta Post

Sweden says people infected with COVID-19 should do contact tracing themselves

  • News Desk

    Reuters

Stockholm, Sweden   /   Tue, July 21, 2020   /   08:40 am
Sweden says people infected with COVID-19 should do contact tracing themselves An information sign recommends people to keep social distance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, where people sunbathe and swim at a bathing jetty in Malmo, Sweden, on June 25, 2020. Sweden's health agency said on Monday it was changing its COVID-19 contact-tracing guidelines so that tracing is done to a larger extent by the individuals infected. (REUTERS /Johan Nilsson/TT News Agency)

Sweden's health agency said on Monday it was changing its COVID-19 contact-tracing guidelines so that tracing is done to a larger extent by the individuals infected.

The new guidance breaks from a strategy adopted by most countries where authorities trace and notify people who have had close contact with a carrier of the disease.

An agency spokeswoman said it was much better that individuals themselves contact people they may have infected, rather than official tracking units which currently have this responsibility.

The existing system worked well when the number of infections was lower but had become less effective as the number grew, she said.

Unlike most tracing systems, the Swedish system is not anonymous as individuals are expected to deliver the news of their infection to anyone they've been in close contact with.

It is not yet clear how this will work in practice or whether authorities will check up on this do-it-yourself arrangement.

The health agency is expected to issue full guidelines in the coming days.

Although the number of infections in Sweden has slowed in recent weeks, a total of 78,048 people have been infected since the pandemic began, a figure far outstripping its Nordic neighbors.

Sweden decided to forego a hard lockdown and keep most schools open, and allow businesses to stay open, throughout the outbreak, a strategy that set it apart from most of Europe.

The spokeswoman said the new guidelines will not apply to individuals who are too ill to carry out the responsibility and that authorities will have the discretion in certain cases to do the tracing rather than the patient.