Sweden keeps schools and borders open in 'huge experiment' on virus

Swedish children continued to pour through the gates of their schools and kindergartens on Thursday as the Nordic nation stood increasingly alone in Europe in its approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Shops and restaurants also remained open across the country, with parks and recreational areas packed with groups enjoying the spring sunshine.

The government has only banned events with more than 500 participants, issuing a recommendation that those who visit pubs and restaurants should be seated at a table rather than mingling at a bar, and that people taking public transport should "think carefully" about whether it's necessary.

The advice has not changed despite a surge of cases in Stockholm in recent days which led the city’s health chief Björn Eriksson to call for any help he could get handling the influx of coronavirus patients.

"The storm is here," Mr Eriksson said, announcing that 18 patients had died in the region in the preceding 24 hours, doubling its total death tally in a single daily update.

"I get the feeling that they want to spread the infection to get an immunity, but it's pretty cynical because it will be at the price of hundreds, if not thousands of lives," said Olle Kämpe, a professor at Sweden's leading medical university the Karolinska Institutet, who was among the authors.

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