In a new report from the Deep Knowledge Group, Switzerland has been ranked the safest country in the world during the COVID-19 crisis, with Germany at number two. The report analyses quantitative and qualitative data covering categories including quarantine efficiency, monitoring and detection, health readiness and government efficiency. Economic sustainability contributed to Germany and Switzerland’s high ranking. Both countries have been able to focus on scientific and health indicators to inform the gradual easing of restrictions, without the threat of a collapsing economy hurrying the process.
The report notes that Switzerland’s “reputation as the major economic and financial epicenter of Europe, lends the region a high degree of economic resiliency”, while Germany has the “capacity to sustain the impact of the economic support to citizens and businesses that it has already provided”.
Their leading positions are particularly noteworthy as both Switzerland and Germany are close to the European epicenter of the pandemic. As new cases and mortality rates continue to decline even while economic activity is reinitiated, their positions as safest countries during the COVID-19 crisis are secure. The speed, efficacy and thorough approaches taken to handling the outbreak of coronavirus is characteristic of those nations, which is reassuring when looking towards an uncertain future.
Switzerland and Germany’s Response to COVID-19
There is much to be applauded in the ways Switzerland and Germany responded to COVID-19. Useful lessons for leaders, both in business and politics, can be extracted from analysis of their approaches.
An efficient response
On Friday 13th March, while many other European countries were debating and dragging their feet, Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga announced; “We need a strong reaction across the country and we need it now… it is the only way to surmount this crisis”. Similar measures were put in place in mid-March in Germany, comparatively quickly for Europe.
According to the report, “It is clear that they [Germany and Switzerland] survived and surpassed a very critical stress-test, succeeding to apply quick and efficient quarantine efforts, monitoring and detection, economic freezing and effective treatment, recovery and release of COVID-19 patients to prevent an overburdening of their healthcare systems.”
Germany has been lauded for taking care to build trust with its citizens. By providing clear information about what was known and remained unknown about the virus, alongside issuing regulations and guidelines for behavior, citizens were able to trust that the government was acting appropriately and therefore confidently followed their lead.
Clarity of communication is essential in crisis response and this is also where Switzerland excelled. Clear instructions provided before lockdown and again for the easing of restrictions made following protocol much simpler for citizens. Elsewhere in Europe, confused messaging has caused pandemonium.
A scientific approach
Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel is a trained scientist, which is evident in her measured approach to easing restrictions. Having an informed understanding of the virus and practical experience in scientific research has no doubt been a huge benefit to the leader as she steers her country through the pandemic. But you do not need to be a scientist to learn from her example. A thorough approach to understanding a challenge and a willingness to listen to experts, rather than forge ahead without guidance, are admirable qualities in a leader.
A similarly cautious approach was taken in Switzerland, whose Interior Minister Alain Berset said, “We want to proceed as swiftly as possible and as slowly as necessary”.
A High-Performing Healthcare System
Above all, both Germany and Switzerland have well-funded and established healthcare systems that were able to handle the crisis.
Writing for the World Economic Forum, Jens Spahn, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Health, reflected; “The German health-care system was in good shape going into the crisis; everyone has had full access to medical care. This is a merit not just of the current government but of a system that was built over the course of many governments. With an excellent network of general practitioners available to deal with milder COVID-19 cases, hospitals have been able to focus on the more severely ill.”
And Switzerland was commended by the writers of the report for offering “guaranteed accessibility to high standard healthcare services for the entire community”, and “large capacities to mobilize new health resources”.
Maintaining an effective, properly funded healthcare system through good and bad times has proven, unsurprisingly, to be a game-changer when it comes to weathering a global pandemic.
Study Abroad in Our Swiss and German Campuses
Life is slowly getting back to normal in Switzerland and Germany. On the streets, things feel much as they did before the pandemic, albeit with the reassuring presence of face masks and an established practice of keeping a safe distance.
Until a vaccine is ready, we all need to get used to living alongside the virus. Back to normal means continuing to work towards our long-term goals. For anyone planning to study abroad, there’s nowhere better to do so than the two countries listed as safest in the world.
There are myriad reasons for studying in Geneva, Montreux or Munich, not least their cultural excellence, robust economies and enviable, cosmopolitan lifestyles. What’s more, being able to study secure in the knowledge that you are safe, allows greater focus and energy to be directed towards the incredible learning experience that awaits. Ensuring students make the most of the time and money invested in their education.
At EU Business School, we’re prepared for fall 2020. We have measures in place across our campuses, including in Geneva, Montreux and Munich, to ensure that our community can study with peace of mind. Students will be able to enjoy all that their campus cities have to offer while engaging in a flexible education that will allow them to achieve their goals.
Find out more about our state-of-the-art facilities, small class sizes, faculty of business leaders, entrepreneurs and consultants and the exciting lifestyles that await in our campus cities. We offer top-ranked business programs from bachelor’s to MBA. Given the global situation, we are taking a flexible approach to admissions; get in touch to discuss your goals and discover your path to success.