Covid-19 abroad: Public health vs economy in Switzerland

Watch Nina Suter and Izzy Rowley discuss the situation in Switzerland

Switzerland has vaccinated 2,431,709 people and is on its way out of a national lockdown.

It’s clear that the country was hit hard by the crisis. The Swiss government recently announced that, at a conservative estimate, a third of the country’s population has been infected by Covid-19.

However, when the country was facing its second wave of the virus the government was slow to respond, and many businesses remained open, including bars and clubs, resulting in a superspreader event.

“As is probably the case everywhere, but especially here, the economy is really prioritised over health,” says Nina Suter, a Swiss native who is currently living in Zurich.

“It’s wild when you have the Swiss Finance Minister [Ueli Maurer] saying ‘oh, we can’t afford a second lockdown,’ which is wild, this is one of the richest countries globally,” adds Suter.

Zurich’s streets are finally opening up after a long lockdown. Image courtesy of H. Emre via

The country is only now emerging from restrictions that were put in place to avoid a third wave, with restaurants and pubs allowed to open their outdoor seating.

The government has introduced a new strategy of rapid self-testing. Swiss people will be able to obtain five tests per month each. It’s hoped that this will allow for early detection of the virus and will help to contain any new variants. 

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