STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Deaths in Sweden from COVID-19 passed 3,000 on Thursday, the Public Health Agency said, far more than in neighbouring Nordic countries.

The official death toll has now reached 3,040, up from 2,941 on Wednesday.

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, France and Spain, where there have also been lockdowns.

(Reporting by Johan Ahlander, editing by Johannes Hellstrom)