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Most think Switzerland is reopening fast or too fast, according to survey

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A survey published on 7 May 2020, suggests only 36% of Swiss support the government’s calendar for reopening the country after the Covid-19 shutdown.

23% think the plan to reopen is too slow, while 42% think it is fast or too fast. However, 60% said they had confidence in the government.

The most controversial aspects of the plan were reopening schools and reopening restaurants, bars and nightclubs. 37% thought restaurants were opening too early, 29% thought bars and clubs were, and 26% thought opening schools was premature.

Older people were more relaxed about reopening. Only 29% of people over 75 thought the reopening plan was fast or too fast, compared to 48% of those between 25 and 44.

One of the drivers of Switzerland’s relatively low death rate is likely related to the low percentage of older people infected. In Switzerland, 22.8% of recorded cases were among those over 70. In Belgium, 42.4% of cases were over 70, close to double the Swiss percentage. Relatively low infection rates among older people in Switzerland might be reflected in their views on reopening.

Unsurprisingly, Switzerland’s Italian speakers, where the outbreak took off and hit harder, were more concerned about reopening. 62% thought the plan was fast or too fast. In French- (47%) and German-speaking (38%) Switzerland the rates were lower.

Regarding the likelihood of a second wave of spread, 14% expected a steep rise in spread, 37% a slow consistent rise, 22% a plateau, 18% expect the rate to decline and 9% said they don’t know.

The percentage expecting a second wave declined with age. 19% of those between the ages of 25 and 44 expected a steep rise in spread after reopening. However, only 5% of those between 65 and 75 and 3% of those over 75 expected the virus to spread rapidly again.

Women (57%) were more likely to expect a second wave than men (43%). Those in the harder hit French-speaking (66%) and Italian-speaking (64%) regions were more likely to expect this than German-speakers (45%).

The survey, done by the Sotomo institute, surveyed 32,485 people across all of Switzerland between 2 and 6 May 2020.

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