Sweden, where a shutdown-free pandemic response prompted a global debate, is seeing another wave of covid-19 cases, with the country’s state epidemiologist warning this week that it was heading in the “wrong direction” as winter approaches.

Sweden’s public health body recorded 554 new covid-19 cases Thursday — the highest since early July — and 417 on Friday, according to its online tracking tool, capping off what epidemiologist Anders Tegnell had warned would be a record week for new cases.

“It is slowly but surely going in the wrong direction in Sweden, even if the situation is not as serious as in other parts of Europe,” Tegnell said at a news briefing Thursday, according to the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.

Unlike many other nations, Sweden has pursued a policy for containing the virus that avoided strict government measures such as school or restaurant closures. The success or failure of that policy is still being debated far beyond Sweden’s borders, where most countries implemented some form of a lockdown.

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