Should citizens have more power in the decision how to protect themselves against Covid-19 ?

Photo by: @CDC | Unsplash

This is what many critics demand. They want more independence instead of governmental control.

Nine months since the outbreak of Covid-19. Nine months with social distancing, masks and online meetings. An end is not foreseeable. Actually, the rules are straightforward. Meet as few people as possible, stay at home as much as possible and wear a mask.

Not hard to follow at all, is it? After all this time, shouldn’t we be able to protect ourselves properly against Covid-19? Does it make sense that the government restricts citizens freedom in order to protect them?

In my opinion it definitely makes sense for the government to prescribe how to protect ourselves from the virus. There are many reasons for that. Let me start with the first and saddest reason: The society itself.

During the pandemic I experienced that some didn’t take the situation seriously or don’t want to protect themselves against Covid-19. Apparently, the horrible pictures from Italy, France or the US have not deterred enough. Should the measures be on a voluntary basis, people will always find an excuse why to resist.

In order for the measures to be successful and to ensure the safety of all people, all inhabitants must adhere to them. This can only be applied, if the measures get legally binding. In a pandemic it is about to be loyal to each other and to face the situation together.

I think that this means also to dispense in order not to put somebody else in danger. Then you don’t celebrate your birthday this year or you go on holiday again next year. It is not nice but manageable right?


Photo by: @Andreas Strandman | Unsplash

I assume that many would advantage from lax measures and only think about themselves. This group of society needs clear measure in order not to put other people in danger.

Let´s imagine that the government sets onto rules or recommendations rather than legal issues.

Certainly, there would be more ways to get infected and a higher infection rate would result. Then it becomes more dangerous for older people or people with pre-existing conditions. Especially for this high risk group, Corona is threatening.

But who cares if the grandmother is lonely in the care home because she can´t receive any visitors? Its more important that the birthday is celebrated with family and friends isn´t it? Who cares if the asthmatic has to be afraid to catch the virus when he/she leaves the flat? The main thing is that Influencer can travel around the world to provide their followers with content.

Furthermore, tracing an infection chair would be impossible. Already now contacts, especially in the private sector, are difficult or even impossible to trace. Obligated rules ensure that tracing is possible, further infections can be prevented and in serious cases the government can take action (for example closing a school).

I guess many forget that the measures are there to ensure that the health system doesn’t collapse and everybody can get treatment. With a higher infection rate that wouldn’t be possible. And let´s be honest: Everybody wants that in an emergency one or relatives can be helped.

One of the governments top priorities is to ensure that the health system doesn’t collapse. Photo by: @JC Gellidon | Unsplash

When you look around the world you can see that it can’t be done without governmental intervention.

Even Sweden has restrictions. Sweden is the country that became famous for its “special path” in the Covid debate. But the country has one important advantage: More space and less inhabitants. A fairytale says that in some Swedish regions are living more moose than humans. Thus, rules like social distancing are easier to follow than in countries with more inhabitants.

In my point of view the big debate is about safety versus self-determination and to what extent the state is allowed to intervent into our lives.

For many critics the measures violate our human rights. That is more or less true, as we have to follow restrictions, for example, in traveling. But the problem with this demonstrations that most people ignore the rules. Most protesters don’t wear a mask or keep distance.

Reuters has published an video on YouTube about a anti-lockdown protest in London


Nevertheless, every critic should remember that this situation is an exception and won´t last forever.

I can understand when somebody wants more own decision making in these times. But the danger that some will take advantage of this is simply too great.

A limit is reached for me, when somebody puts others in danger trough their actions. I think that many in the society are not able to protect themselves sufficiently. Which is why the state should make certain precautionary measures obligatory. After all we want the same thing: That our loved ones and we stay healthy.


Words by: Lara Bonczek | Subbing: Monika Groening

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