On Friday afternoon, Switzerland’s government will announce a new set of lockdown measures.
On the table are two different pathways out of the pandemic.
One largely restricts bars and restaurants to those vaccinated and recovered from the virus, while the other path locks down most indoor venues for several weeks for everyone.
Wanting to get an idea of where readers of The Local Switzerland stood on the issue, we published a survey to find out which option people preferred – and why.
The sensitive and controversial nature of the issue can be illustrated by the sheer number of responses we got to the survey.
In just two days, the survey received more than 500 responses. There were also dozens of responses on social media and in the article itself.
This is not only the most of any survey in Local Switzerland history, where the previous high was around 150 responses, but it is the most of any Local site since surveys were launched.
More than two thirds prefer a “lockdown for the unvaccinated”
As at December 17th, 509 people have answered the survey, with 68.6 percent – or 349 respondents – saying they felt “the unvaccinated should be locked down”.
The figure is roughly the same as the percentage of the population who are fully vaccinated against Covid, which as at December 17th is 66.7 percent.
152, or 29.9 percent of respondents, told us the same rules should apply for everyone.
A further eight respondents (1.6 percent) told us they were unsure as to which approach was the best.
The survey itself was viewed more than 3,000 times, which may indicate that more than just eight people were unsure but eventually decided not to properly respond.
Why people wanted a lockdown for the unvaccinated
The main reason people advocated for a lockdown for the unvaccinated was a desire to return to normality and to avoid further lockdowns and restrictions.
Many said that while they sympathised with the concerns of the unvaccinated, they wanted the pandemic to come to an end.
Greg, from Basel, said locking down the unvaccinated would “prevent higher risk to the population and the healthcare system”.
Richard, from Zurich, said the vaccinated had already decided to take steps to minimise strain on hospitals.
“Why should I be under lockdown after 3x Pfizer shots & when I will not take an ICU bed even if I get it?”
Patricia, from Vaud, agreed.
“As most of the hospital ICU cases are unvaccinated people this would imply that they are at most risk and therefore should be on stricter lockdown”
As The Local wrote on December 16th, since January 27th when the vaccination campaign kicked into gear, 77.5 percent of Covid patients admitted to Switzerland’s hospitals are not vaccinated against the virus.
2.5 percent were partially vaccinated, with the remaining 20 percent having had two shots of the vaccine.
Robert, from Nidwalden, indicated he was losing patience with unvaccinated people who rejected clear science.
“It is about protecting society. Those who are vaccinated protect the weak. Those who do not threaten the weak. It is not a matter of belief, it is scientific fact and those who choose to protect are not causing the problem and should not be restricted whereas those who do not should be restricted.”
John Patrick, from Bern, highlighted the threat of further mutations as a reason to get the jab.
“Those who do not get vaccinated allow the virus to reproduce and thus create more mutations. This endangers everyone, not just themselves.”
Why people wanted the same rules for all
Those opposed to a lockdown only for the unvaccinated highlighted that such a move was discriminatory and interfered with the rights of people who choose to remain unvaccinated.
Vinay, from Zurich, said people should be united against the threat of the virus.
“Although, as a vaccinated person, I’m very tempted to choose lockdown only for the unvaccinated, I would choose to stay indoors as well. This is not the time to show pettiness. The virus is spreading rapidly and it is imperative that we take a united step forward to stop it (which we should have already done with vaccinations).”
One respondent, from St Gallen who chose to remain anonymous, told us that a widespread testing scheme should be preferred.
“So long as people are tested, then we can be assured that public spaces are safe. To lock down those that are not carrying the virus is counterproductive to preventing spread since vaccinated can clearly spread the virus and their testing status is not inquired about.”
As The Local has reported previously, widespread studies have shown that the unvaccinated are three times more contagious than those who have been vaccinated.
Lana, from Valais, told us that distinguishing between vaccinated and unvaccinated was unfair and that people should rely on their immune systems.
“It’s exceptionally infair (sic) and brainwashing probably into believing that only vaccines can save them. It’s not true. Your immune system is strong enough! People who are recovered should have all the same rights as vaccinated.”
Elias, from Zurich, said it was discriminatory and said the vaccinated should take steps to avoid the unvaccinated if they are worried.
“It’s not right to discriminate our neighbours based on choices protected by the inviolability of their bodies. If you do not feel safe around unvaccinated people, it is your responsibility to avoid them.”