COVID-19 in Switzerland and France

Cecilia Ng Wai Sheung (吳慧湘)('90)

COVID-19 arrived in Europe at the end of February.  In Switzerland, it started in the Swiss Italian area, which is next to northern Italy where most of the cases were found at the beginning.  As border control was very loose in most of the European countries, it spread rapidly.

According to the World Health Organization at that time, wearing of masks by the general public was not helpful in fighting the virus.  It is still a "hot" subject to talk about.  We fought with our company to let us use our own masks.  Actually, our company did not have enough stock of personal protective equipment.  So, it could not ask us to use masks at work.

In Switzerland, we did not have any lockdown.  The Government only asked the citizens to avoid going out, and we were disciplined enough.  However, in neighbouring France, where the culture of the people is to argue over lengthy discussions, people are still not willing to wear masks in public even after a few months.  

One of my company's planes, still sleeping in the hanger since March
At the end of March, only 5 passengers onboard one of the last few flights before we stopped operating
Empty Geneva airport, nearly empty flight - my first re-start flight in mid-June

My job as a cabin crew is not looking good at the moment as air traffic in the whole world nearly stopped.  My husband takes care of our B&B, which used to work well during the summer.  The second wave of COVID-19 is starting now in Europe.  We can only keep an eye on the news, hoping it would slow down and praying for a good ski season.

One thing I have never seen before is that the COVID measures are changing so fast in each country here.  It is so hard to catch up with the latest situation, and we must be well prepared in order avoid quarantine even if we just want to go away for a weekend.

The Swiss Government helps my company with "technical unemployment".  I still receive 70% net of my regular salary.  However, my husband has received nothing as the Government considers the "hotels" are still open.  Without anyone travelling, how can we have business???

20 August 2020

From Bursins, Switzerland

Previous articles on Cecilia can be accessed here.