Prime Minister Stefan Löfven’s address to the nation

Photo: Kristian Pohl/Government Offices

Stockholm, March 22, 2020.

(This is an unofficial translation by Mundus international. The transcript in Swedish is available here)

Tonight I want to turn directly to you, the Swedish people.

The new coronavirus is testing our country, our society and us as fellow humans.

Now, every person needs to prepare mentally for what is coming.

We have a general spread of infection in Sweden.

Life, health and jobs are threatened.

More will fall, more will have to say a final goodbye to a loved one.

The only way to deal with this

is that we face the crisis as a society

where everyone takes responsibility for themselves, for each other and for our country.

I know many are worried.

Worried about how our society is going to cope with it.

Worried for yourself, for someone you love who belongs to a risk group,

or for your job to be lost.

I understand that. The next few months will be stressful. But our society is strong.

Our authorities are working hard, day and night. Staff in health care, school and many, many other people with important occupations are supporting our country.

I, as Prime Minister, and the government I lead,

will make every decision needed to protect as many people’s lives, health and jobs as possible..

In Sweden, public gatherings of more than 500 people have been banned and upper secondary- and university education is now conducted remotely.

I want you to be prepared for more intervention decisions to come, sometimes at short notice, sometimes interfering with everyday life even more.

The goal of the government’s work is to limit the spread of infection, so that not many people will be seriously ill at the same time.

But also to secure resources for healthcare, and to mitigate the consequences for workers and for our companies in this tough time.

Be prepared for this to last for a long time.

Be ready for the situation to change quickly.

But you should also know that we as a society are facing this crisis

with all our united strength.

Now we all have great individual responsibility.

There are a few crucial moments in life when you have to make sacrifices

not only for your own sake but also in order to take responsibility for your surroundings,

for your fellow human beings, and for our country.

That moment is now. That day is here. And that duty applies to everyone.

Each and everyone of us has a responsibility to prevent the spread of infection, to protect the elderly and other risk groups.

Nobody can take chances. Not one of us can go to work with symptoms.

Young, old, rich or poor does not matter – everyone needs to do their part.

This also applies to you who are 70+ or ​​belong to another risk group.

I understand that it is frustrating to have to limit your life, your social contacts, but right now it is necessary. For the sake of your own health, of course, but also to protect other people and to give the healthcare services the opportunity to cope with the situation.

And we as adults now need to be precisely that: adults. Don’t spread panic or rumours.

No one is alone in this crisis, but each person has a heavy responsibility. Every one.

I know that the demands made are great. But it is the only way we can limit the spread of infection.

I know that some restrictions are strenuous. But this is how we can ensure that the healthcare system is able to handle the crisis.

I know that the situation may feel tough. But following the advice of our authorities is the duty of every person. Yours, too – and mine.

You are many who take your responsibility also as fellow human beings.

Who helps your neighbours to shop, who buys a take-away lunch to support the local restaurant, who avoids seeing your grandmother – but instead calls her for a chats every day.

That is solidarity in practice.

I am proud to be Sweden’s Prime Minister when I see what so many are doing for their fellow human beings.

You show that when times are the toughest, then our unity is the strongest.

I am sure that everyone in Sweden will take their responsibility

do your utmost to ensure the health of others,

help each other and therefore be able to look back at this crisis

and be proud of your particular role, your efforts

for your fellow human beings, for our society and for Sweden.

Thank You.

Jessica Nilsson Williams is the CEO & Founder of Mundus International. She has a long-standing interest in international affairs, having worked in the field for 20 years. She began her career as the political advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, and then worked in the corporate- and NGOs sectors London and Singapore before returning to Stockholm. Back in Sweden, she headed the business intelligence unit for a risk- and security firm. In 2011 she took up a senior role at the New Zealand Embassy before founding Mundus International in 2012.