The number of confirmed coronavirus or COVID-19 cases in Sweden went past the 70,000 mark on Thursday, while the deaths had risen by 41 to 5,411, the health agency statistics showed on Thursday.

Sweden recorded 947 new cases to put the total at 70,639. Expanded testing has seen daily new cases soar over the past month, eclipsing rates elsewhere in the European Union, but deaths and hospitalizations have tumbled from peaks in April.

COVID-19 Crisis in Sweden

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The country adopted a softer approach to fighting the new coronavirus, spurning a hard lockdown, and putting its pandemic strategy in the international spotlight. Sweden's death toll has been many times higher relative to the size of the population than that of its Nordic neighbors, where authorities took a stricter approach, but lower than in some countries that locked down, such as Britain, Italy and Spain.

The deadly virus outbreak has created a major stir around the world in recent times infecting more than 10.7 million people worldwide and claimed the lives of over 516,000 people globally in more than 170 countries.

(With agency inputs)