Switzerland named safest country for Covid-19

In the bag: Switzerland's top marks for safety under the threat of Covid-19 Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

A global ranking comparing how nations cope with coronavirus finds that Switzerland is the safest place to be.

This content was published on June 10, 2020 - 16:15

Switzerland ranks first for its economic resilience and its careful approach towards relaxing “lockdown and economic freezing mandates in a fact- and science-based manner, without sacrificing public health and safety”, states Deep Knowledge Group in its Covid-19 Regional Safety Assessment.

The ranking, published last week, takes into account factors such as monitoring and detection capacity, quarantine and government efficiency, and healthcare and emergency readiness. Altogether the analysis includes 130 qualitative and quantitative parameters.

The 250-page report is based on 500 data sources, including the World Health Organization (WHO), Johns Hopkins University, Worldometers and the United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Switzerland has been one of the countries most affected by the virus in Europe. Officially, a total of 30,934 people have been infected and 1,923 have died due to Covid, out of a population of 8.5 million. Since April 27, the country has been gradually loosening strict virus-related restrictions.

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In mid-April, Israel and Germany held the top two slots, while Switzerland ranked 11th.

“In our previous safety and risk assessment, regions which had very high levels of emergency preparedness and a capacity to efficiently manage national crises achieved the highest score because they had the greatest likelihood of managing the early stages of the pandemic,” explain the authors.

In the meantime, they’ve taken a closer look at national tactics for relaxing lockdown measures and withstanding economic fallout – areas where Switzerland is especially strong.

“The government’s efficiency in managing economic risks is considerably high. The region has financially assisted companies and citizens with greater vulnerabilities to cushion the effects of the economic crisis, and as a consequence, the unemployment crisis has been controlled more efficiently in this region than in most of those considered in this report,” note the authors.

Other strengths include “guaranteed accessibility to high standard healthcare services for the entire community” and “large capacities to mobilize new health resources”.

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Despite topping the overall ranking, Switzerland could still improve a great deal.

“The main weakness of the Swiss program has been the determination to test only citizens with mild symptoms, when the most dangerous vectors are those who are asymptomatic,” it warned.

Switzerland must also establish coherent programmes for the monitoring, detection and neutralisation of new cases as potential outbreaks occur in the months ahead, it said. The decentralised Swiss health system could prove a challenge in this respect, it added.

Indeed, the crisis is far from over, warns the report.

“Switzerland has proven to be a fundamental actor in the fight against Covid-19 and its management scheme a model to keep in view, but it is important that the reopening process of the Swiss economy is carried out with caution, assessing the dynamics of the virus, otherwise all the sacrifice and joint work of citizens, government and organizations will have been meaningless,” wrote the authors.

Deep Knowledge Group is a consortium of commercial and non-profit organisations based in Hong Kong. It will continue to update the rankings.

Editorial note

Although this ranking offers a helpful classification of the global situation, it should also be viewed with justified scepticism. Some readers wrote to us after publication saying they felt the measures taken in other countries were more effective. They cited New Zealand, Taiwan and Japan as examples.

It’s true that other measures were taken there at other times. Each country also faces its own geographical, social and economic challenges that make comparisons difficult. For example, Switzerland is landlocked and Zurich is an air traffic hub. Furthermore, different tests are carried out and treated differently. In any case, we will continue to monitor and report on the situation ) – click hereExternal link for our overview.

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