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COVID-19 deaths in Sweden pass 5,000 - Public Health Agency

Swedish Prime Minister Stevan Lofven and Swedish Deputy Prime Minister Isabella Lovin attend a memorial ceremony for the victims of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in the Swedish parliament Riksdagen in Stockholm, Sweden, June 17, 2020. Jonas Ekstromer/TT News Agency/via REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Deaths in Sweden from COVID-19 passed 5,000 on Wednesday, the Public Health Agency said, far more than in neighbouring Nordic countries.

The official death toll has now reached 5,041, up from 4,939 on Tuesday.

Sweden has taken a softer approach to fighting the coronavirus, leaving most schools, shops and restaurants open and relying on voluntary measures focused on social distancing and good hygiene.

Deaths in Sweden has been far higher relative to the size of the population than in Denmark, Norway and Finland, where authorities have taken a stricter approach. But they have been lower than in Britain, Italy and Spain, where there have also been lockdowns.

Reporting by Johan Ahlander; editing by Johannes Hellstrom