Sweden's state epidemiologist has admitted he made the wrong call on the country's coronavirus lockdown for the first time.
Anders Tegnell, who was behind the decision to shun full lockdown in favour of voluntary social distancing measures, now admits that too many people have died under his strategy.
Asked to battle the same disease again with the benefit of hindsight, Tegnell said he would bring in tougher measures to slow the spread.
However, he still believes that full lockdowns of the kind seen in other European countries during the outbreak were unnecessary.
Anders Tegnell, Sweden's state epidemiologist, has admitted for the first time that he got the country's lockdown strategy wrong
Speaking to Sveriges Radio on Wednesday, he said: 'Should we encounter the same disease, with exactly what we know about it today, I think we would land in doing midway between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world did.'
However, he said it is difficult to say which lockdown measures to use because most other countries brought in their restrictions all in one go.
That makes it impossible to know which individual measures had the greatest effect on bending the curve of infection, he said.
'Maybe we will get to know that now when you start removing measures one by one, and perhaps that will teach us some kind of lesson about what else, besides what we did, you could do without a full lockdown,' he added.
Tegnell has previously admitted mistakes in his strategy - including not doing more to protect the elderly and those care homes - but has until now defended his decision to largely avoid mandatory lockdown measures.
Sweden has advised people to wear masks and keep 2 metre social distance, but has not brought in laws to force people to comply.
Tegnell has defended his decision to shun mandatory measures in favour of voluntary social distancing for months, but on Wednesday admitted too many people have died (pictured, a bar in Stockholm with safety screens in place)
The only official rules in place are a ban on gatherings of 50 people or more and a ban on visitors to care homes.
Parks, shops, bars, cafes and schools have remained open throughout the pandemic.
Sweden has officially recorded 38,589 cases of coronavirus and 4,468 deaths from the disease.
That is far above the case and death tolls seen in other Nordic countries which did go into full lockdown, even when population size is taken into account.
In fact, during the week to May 29, Sweden had the highest death rate per capita of any country in the world.
That has led to mounting anger at home, with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announcing on Monday that a planned inquiry into the lockdown will be launched sooner than anticipated.
Lofven had previously said an inquiry would begin once the pandemic is over, but now says it will begin before the summer.
Tegnell's middle-ground approach is being echoed in other countries which did go into full lockdown, including in neighbouring Norway.
Asked what he would do differently, Tegnell said he would bring in harsher measures sooner to slow the spread - but still thinks that full lockdowns seen elsewhere in Europe were wrong (pictured, a park in Stockholm)
Prime Minister Erna Solberg admitted last week that she may have gone too far and too fast in imposing full lockdown.
Asked to review her strategy, she confessed to making decisions 'out of fear' and based on worst-case scenarios that may never have come to pass.
She now admits that it may not have been necessary to close schools, which shut for two months and disrupted learning for millions of children.
Norway has recorded just 8,455 cases of the virus and 237 deaths, and has announced plans to drop all lockdown measures by mid-June.