Sweden's chief epidemiologist, who is largely behind the approach of keeping large parts of the country open during the coronavirus pandemic, says he was surprised to see other European Union countries close their borders.

Anders Tegnell, chief epidemiologist for Sweden's Public Health Agency, described his country's strategy in a programme by Swedish public radio channel Sveriges Radio P1 as a "classic pandemic model" that he had been discussing with international colleagues for 20 years.

Tegnell said "it was as if the world went crazy and everything we discussed seemed completely forgotten".

Sweden's State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden speaks during a news conference on a daily update on the coronavirus Covid-19 situation. Photo / AP
Sweden's State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency of Sweden speaks during a news conference on a daily update on the coronavirus Covid-19 situation. Photo / AP

Sweden, a country of 10 million people, has so far recorded 62,324 coronavirus cases and 5209 deaths.

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Tegnell said the coronavirus was unpredictable and stressed it was difficult to know which methods had the best effect.

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A recent survey in Dagens Nyheter, one of Sweden's largest newspapers, showed that support for Sweden's Public Health Agency had dropped to 57 per cent in June from 69 per cent in April.

When most of Europe was in government-enforced lockdown, Sweden went against the grain.

The country's unique strategy to deal with the deadly coronavirus without tanking the economy was to keep schools, cafes, restaurants and shops open, while encouraging people to voluntarily distance themselves and work from home.

Yannika Ehde, right, gives Hassan Moghaddam a hug, at a hug station for coronavirus times, outside The Minc company in Malmoe, Sweden. Photo / AP
Yannika Ehde, right, gives Hassan Moghaddam a hug, at a hug station for coronavirus times, outside The Minc company in Malmoe, Sweden. Photo / AP

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A recent study has found the number of Swedes who have formed antibodies to the virus is smaller than expected.

The study, carried out by the country's Public Health Agency and published last week, found that just 6.1 per cent of the country's population had developed coronavirus antibodies by late May. This figure falls far short of the 40 per cent predicted by Anders Tegnell, the country's chief epidemiologist.