Face of Sweden’s Antivirus Strategy Doesn’t Get WHO Job | International

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Sweden’s former chief epidemiologist, seen as the architect of the country’s unconventional response to the coronavirus pandemic, will ultimately not work for the World Health Organization.

The Swedish Public Health Agency reported on Wednesday that the WHO said “unfortunately an agreement has not been reached” for Anders Tegnell to take on an “intended assignment” with the United Nations health agency.

Tegnell will instead return to the Swedish agency and be in charge of “international engagements”. He has been the country’s chief epidemiologist since 2014.

During the pandemic, Sweden intentionally suspended lockdown measures and eventually achieved one of the highest per capita death rates in the world.

The Swedish public health agency announced in February that Tegnell, 65, would work at the WHO in Geneva. The new position focused on global coronavirus vaccination efforts and coordinating the activities of WHO, UNICEF and the public-private vaccination organization Gavi.

“Of course, I’m disappointed. We thought we had clear signs that this was going to happen,” Tegnell told Swedish tabloid Expressen.

Sweden has stood out among European nations and much of the world for the way it has responded to the pandemic. The government did not impose restrictions that shut down parts of the economy and instead relied on citizens’ sense of civic duty to protect the population.

Swedish authorities advised residents to practice social distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants remained open.

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