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  • Writer's picturegraeme


I am glad that Sweden attempted to deal with Covid-19 without a formal lockdown. It gives a data point to look at.

Sadly, it’s not going well. They have more deaths per million inhabitants than America. The elderly are particularly hard hit. The government yesterday allocated 2.2billion Kroner for emergency assistance for regions hardest hit by Covid-19 infections. The Swedes attempted to keep their economy open. But that didn’t work either. Germany will see an 8% drop in GDP this quarter with a hard lockdown. Sweden will see a 7% drop with no lockdown.

The reason is that even with no official lockdown, consumer confidence and individual decisions made by Swedish people means that most people are staying at home anyway.

To protect the economy, we need a balance between protecting people’s health and building confidence in consumers and workers that they can go to work safely.

Many South Africans are moaning that lockdown restrictions are ruining the economy. That’s just not true: Covid-19 is ruining the economy (and it wasn’t a particularly healthy one to start with). Lifting the restrictions on economic activity will not solve the problem. It might make a bigger one. As restrictions are lifted - and I hope they are soon - it will be up to all of us to keep the economy safe by ensuring we keep ourselves, our workers and our customers safe.

That’s what businesses should be focused on right now: how to ensure the safety of everyone.

There’s no real debate: we need the economy open. There’s no real debate: if we don’t keep people safe from Covid-19, the economy will be hurt badly.

Sweden shows us what can go wrong if we don’t focus on keeping people safe from Covid-19. And let’s not forget in South Africa: winter is coming.

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