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Bars open for business as Sweden rejects isolation

Busy: Outside a bar in Malmo PICTURE: PA

WHILE most of the world is either in lockdown or strict self-isolation, life in one European country is carrying on almost as normal.

Despite 3,447 confirmed cases and 105 deaths, Sweden is taking a much more liberal view on personal freedom.

Across the country, streets are quiet but not deserted. People still sit at outdoor cafes, teenagers still chat in groups in parks — and citizens still greet each other with hugs and handshakes.

Swedish authorities have advised the public to practice social distancing and to work from home, if possible.

They have also urged those over 70 to self-isolate. Standing at bars has been banned but they are still open as long as you sit down.

Gatherings of up to 50 are allowed and, although high schools and universities are closed, nurseries and primary schools are still open. Johan Giesecke, adviser to the Swedish Health Agency, said other European nations ‘have taken political, unconsidered actions’ instead of ones dictated by science.

■ PET owners in Serbia are furious after the government banned dog walking during an evening curfew — revoking a previous allowance of 20 minutes — to curb the virus. The ban could hurt dogs’ health and ‘aggravate basic hygienic conditions in people’s homes’, vet Nenad Milojkovic warned. Serbia has some of the strictest lockdown rules in Europe, with a curfew from 5pm until 5am.