People wearing masks pass a Christmas booth this week in Dusseldorf, Germany (Image: AP/Martin Meissner)

The vaccine may have arrived but the effects of coronavirus are very much still here. Many countries are grappling with second and third waves and debating whether social restrictions should be eased over Christmas. 


Sweden took a different approach to the rest of the world with voluntary restrictions and life as normal during the first wave. It should have been well set up: only two-thirds of its population live in a big city and almost half of Swedes live alone. 

But voluntary restrictions had a devastating effect. Intensive care units are at 99% capacity. There were 20,931 new cases recorded yesterday. Sweden's seven-day average of daily cases and deaths per capita is higher than the UK, France and Spain, with a death rate five times higher than Denmark and 10 times higher than Norway.