Why Sweden can’t declare a state of emergency over COVID-19

People enjoy the sunny weather on Easter Eve without following authorities advice to keep social distance amid the spread of the COVID-19 in Stockholm, Sweden April 11, 2020. Although most people in Sweden are staying at home after official advice, a formal lockdown has not been brought in. (Anders Wiklund/TT News Agency/Reuters)
Sweden cannot legally declare a full state of emergency to deal with corona, says an expert in constitutional law – and right now Sweden can’t declare a lockdown and confine people to their homes either, as has been done in Britain, France, Spain and other countries.

Tormod Otter Johansen is a researcher in public law at Gothenburg University, he says, however, that legislation introducing the possibility of wider lockdowns could be introduced very quickly, as the government has shown over the past few weeks with other legislation to deal with the effect of the coronavirus.

And Tormod Otter Johansen also says that the fact that Sweden’s system can be changed so easily may cause problems.

He says the current crisis is showing up weaknesses in Sweden’s legal structures, and the state of constitutional law right now is interesting “and that frightens me” he says.

Related stories from around the North:

Arctic: Roundup of COVID-19 responses around the Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

Canada: Canadian government providing nearly $130M to help Arctic territories during pandemic, CBC News

Finland: Visits to commercial establishments down sharply in Finnish Lapland, Google data, Yle News

Greenland: COVID-19: Arctic science expedition postpones flight campaign after trainee tests positive for virus, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norwegian Arctic wilderness tourism hit particularly hard by coronavirus, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Moscow disinforms about coronavirus, says press freedom organization, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: How different is Sweden’s coronavirus strategy to its Scandinavian neighbours?, Radio Sweden

United States: ‘A little frustrating’: Northwest Canada tours, Alaska cruises cancelled this year, CBC News

Loukas Christodoulou, Radio Sweden

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