As many parts of the world attempt a return to normalcy during the ongoing battle with the Covid-19 pandemic, one nation has come up with a rather unique approach to encouraging social distancing. The Swedes have hired a troupe of Knights in shining armour to patrol local beaches and tourist hotspots in the popular Gotland area this summer, reminding holidayers to minimize the risk of the virus spreading.
Sweden has been criticized for its handling of the pandemic, never enforcing a lock-down for one example, which has led to above-average deaths per capita among wealthy nations. A major reason for this controversial approach to disease control is the Swedish constitution which “does not allow the government to declare a state of emergency. Under the Swedish constitution, freedom of movement is a fundamental right and limiting such rights requires a decision by the Swedish Parliament.”
Currently, the rates of infection in Sweden are on the decline as citizens practice social distancing and other measures voluntarily. But according to data and news reports, “the country’s mortality rate remains well above levels in the rest of Scandinavia, with more than 10 times as many COVID-19 deaths as in neighboring Norway, per 100,000.” Some health experts and economists think that Sweden’s approach may in the end be more sustainable for its population.
So perhaps a decline in positive cases and trusting its people to adhere to global health recommendations might be enough to tempt visitors outdoors for fun in the sun. The tourism industry is a small percentage of the country’s GDP, but it is a factor to keep jobs and the economy moving in the right direction. Which brings us back to the Covid Knights, who will be on horseback, complete with lances, and no doubt will bring a smile, if not order, to the Swedish tourism industry.
You can watch the brave knights in action here: