Published on: November 22, 2021
Austria has just announced a so-called Circuit Breaker lockdown to deal with rising cases and hospitalisations.
Meanwhile other nations are looking at stricter measures to combat a rising tide of Covid.
The truth is it’s impossible to predict what the Swiss will do.
After all, for over one-and-a-half years this pandemic has been consistantly unpredictable…
But there are significant factors to remember.
JUST BEING CLOSE TO NATIONS IN TROUBLE
DOESN’T MEAN THE PROBLEMS ARE THE SAME
First of all nations like Austria might be neighbours of the Swiss, but there are some fundamental differences in the situations the two nations find themselves in.
The biggest of these differences is with vaccinations.
The Swiss have had a pretty good vaccination take-up. And whilst there is some ‘vaccine hesitancy’ generally speaking the Swiss have good vaccination rates with a booster schedule kicking in for the vulnerable.
So over 65% of the entire population is vaccinated.
Only an estimated 42% of Austrians are vaccinated.
There is also a requirement in Switzerland to show a Covid Certificate in any indoor space like restaurants and bars.
It’s a policy that seems to be keeping the lid on infections, but of course it isn’t completely stopping cases rising as the weather has got colder.
This rule means you need proof of vaccination to go into restaurants in town or on the mountain, recent recovery from infection or a recent negative test.
We understand foreign certificates are valid and currently the NHS certificate is accepted in Verbier although there is also a conversion process if you wish to use the Swiss Covid App.
Whilst cases are rising in Switzerland, they are not rising as steeply as elsewhere.
Due to the vaccination programme hospitalisations are nowhere near what we saw last autumn and winter, as you can see on the chart above.
This is especially true in Intensive Care beds.
They vital thing is to protect the vulnerable and make sure these hospitalisations do not increase. Which precisely what the Swiss are currently achieving.
SWISS GOVERNMENT POLICY
The Swiss have said that they do not intend to follow the Austrian plan – and they have said they do not need to.
They argue that the two nations have very different situations and therefore they need different solutions.
We all know that we should never say never, but the Swiss are saying it’s not yet on their radar.
Meanwhile there is an expanded booster programme launching this month, with booster shots for more people outside of the vulnerable groups.
This is to combat waning immunity for the elderly but also for those who were double-jabbed early on in the programme.
SWISS SKI RESORTS STAYED OPEN LAST SEASON
BEFORE VACCINES CAME ALONG
As ski resorts all over the world were moth-balled last year, the Swiss trod a sensible and safe line keeping resorts open.
They balanced the risks that come with indoor spaces well against the safety of being in the fresh air.
And there’s no denying they got that balance right.
They reduced capacity in lifts, introduced limits for restaurants, they were prepared to close the bars and carefully keep adjusting the rules on indoor spaces.
So there’s every reason to expect resorts to keep rolling – just like they did last year when things were, arguably, tougher.
As testament to that the resort is already open with skiing at weekends.
And whilst everything is opening they have a toolbox of tried-and-trusted measures they learnt last year – precautions they know will work and allow us to stay safe and keep skiing.