The chief executive officer of Sweden’s third national pensions buffer fund, AP3, warned in a video debate that though COVID-19 infection prevention measures being implemented were well motivated, their social and economic consequences were about to become uncontrollable.

Kerstin Hessius, AP3 CEO, said: “We are heading into a disaster that is worse than the one we are trying to avoid.”

The current situation would only be solved by moving from panic to sense and balance, she said, adding that everyone had to be helped to get there as quickly as possible. Communities should be kept functioning, and impact assessments should be done based on broad expertise, she said.

“The panic mode must stop, the situation cannot be handled like that, we must move to a discussion that encompasses the whole of society,” she said in the debate on the video portal of Swedish business daily Dagens Industri.

The most important thing now, according to Hessius, was to make it clear that current dramatic measures including lockdowns were extremely short term.

“One has to set an end point for it, so we can return to more normality, and it should not be far away,” she said.

Communities could only remain shut down for a short amount of time without destroying people’s livelihoods, said Hessius.

“If this situation is to continue for months, the world economy will most likely be plunged into a deep depression,” she said, adding that this would have devastating consequences for people.

“People have to start thinking that there may be other scenarios, and in addition, consequences must be weighed against each other. I can’t see that analysis being done,” she said.