How our readers reacted to Switzerland's Covid-19 measures

Dismantling of the border fence between Kreuzlingen (Switzerland) and Konstanz (Germany) on May 15. Keystone / Gian Ehrenzeller

With the gradual easing of the Covid-19 lockdown and today's end to the government's "extraordinary situation", we asked our community to tell us what they think about official Switzerland's reaction to the pandemic.

This content was published on June 19, 2020 - 12:13

In early March the Swiss government implemented extensive measures to prevent a spike in infections with Covid-19. Restaurants, shops and borders were closed and the concept of social distancing was introduced. Some measures were revised on April 27 and June has seen the lockdown eased significantly.

To get an impression of what the community thinks, we asked them whether they agreed with the Covid-19 measures put in place by the government and whether they are sufficient.

Yes, but lessons to be learnt

Overall, commenters agreed with the measures but thought there were things the government could have done better: “The initial response started slowly, but the clarity of guidance from the government throughout, […] the adherence to the guidance by most citizens, and the very reasonable approach to re-opening was outstanding”. Some readers also pointed out that this was a situation that had never happened in recent times, and that there were “many lessons to be learnt”.  

What about masks?

Other people feared a second wave, and many were confused why the Swiss government would not make wearing masks mandatory. A comment on our Spanish page summarises the concerns many people wrote about: “I think it's still too hasty to relax the restrictions too much. People are not going to respect either distance or hygiene measures. The use of masks should be mandatory because even if some may deny it, they do make a difference! People can be infected by the virus and be asymptomatic for several days and spread the virus”.

Not strict enough, too strict and utterly confusing

Most of the disagreeing voices said the lockdown wasn’t strict enough. Many were unhappy with the implementation of the measures as “coming too late”. Others argued the opposite, seeing the restrictions as too much interference with personal freedom and calling the lockdown in Switzerland too drastic: “It’s clear that we have to take care of ourselves, but killing, sorry locking up the over 60-year olds until August is not the solution, many will become depressed”.

Many were just utterly confused with the information they received: “I don't even know what is sufficient anymore given the huge number of answers on this topic. Each person does what they think, that’s what I’m going to do and not beat about the bush so much”. Some also thought the government had failed to address this confusion: “Many of the explanations were puzzling. During the press conferences many clear questions were asked, but the officials didn’t give a straight answer. This doesn’t build trust”.

Comparison to other countries

Some people compared the Swiss measures with the situation they observe in other countries.  One reader, an American living in Switzerland, said when they compare “what happened here versus my home country, I am truly proud to say I live here and feel we have done a solid job overall”. Others criticised that the Swiss government acted too slowly and missed the chances to learn from others, such as many Asian countries, who have more experience in dealing with viruses such as SARS.

Share this story

Join the conversation!

With a SWI account, you have the opportunity to contribute on our website.

You can Login or register here.