Swiss Covid-19 crisis management gets thumbs up from experts

A government decision to ban access to old people's homes during the first phase of the Covid-19 pandemic was criticised by experts. Keystone/Davide Agosta

The crisis management of the Swiss health authorities has been given generally good marks by a panel of experts. But their report criticises the country's level of preparedness and certain restrictive measures during the pandemic.

This content was published on April 26, 2022 - 16:46

The expert reportExternal link published on Tuesday said that the national and the cantonal governments had "essentially coped well" during the pandemic and that their policies had been adequate.

However, the experts criticised the authorities for not being fully prepared for the crisis. They added that the closure of schools from March to May in 2020 was unnecessary.

More criticism was levelled at the authorities for limiting access to old people’s homes, as well as for banning certain surgeries in hospitals.

A lack of a digital strategy for the crisis management and a shortage of protective material, notably hygiene face masks, was also highlighted in the reportExternal link.

The Swiss government came in for special criticism, including its decision to delegate the crisis management to the 26 cantons in summer 2020.

The lack of coordination between the national and cantonal authorities resulted in a renewed spike in Covid cases in autumn and winter 2021, according to the experts.

High quality

The experts noted that the high quality of the Swiss health system had been assured during the first phase of the pandemic and the anti-Covid restrictions had been accepted by large sections of the population.

The eight-week national lockdown in 2020 was also considered judicious, the experts said.

The study was compiled by representatives of research institutes, consultancies, universities and a law firm.

It was commissioned by the health office and covered the period from March 2020 to July 2021 but does not include the second year of the pandemic.

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