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Covid 19: cases remain high, measures need time

The colour of the FOPH coronavirus campaign changed back to red on Wednesday, when the latest measures were announced Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Switzerland again recorded over 9,000 Covid cases on Friday, as officials warned that the latest anti-virus measures would need time to work.

This content was published on October 30, 2020 - 15:53
Keystone-SDA/SRF/swissinfo.ch/ilj

Coronavirus infections rose by 9,207 and hospitalisations by 279, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said on Friday. The death toll rose by 52, bringing the total to over 2,000 (2,037) for the first time.

At a press conference on Friday, the FOPH’s Virginie Masserey said that the second wave was “proceeding apace”.  It was not the same as the first wave in spring as many more people were being tested. But the number of hospitalisations and deaths were developing along the same lines.

It is currently difficult to get all the results within the normal time parameters, meaning that there is some underreporting on the daily figures, she added.

More older people are being affected by the virus, Masserey said. Children are still less concerned.

Rapid tests, online check

The good news is that rapid Covid tests, which deliver results within 15 minutes, will be available from Monday. The tests, which need to be carried out by a medical professional, are recommended for people who have been symptomatic for less than four days and who are not in the risk groups.

People are being encouraged, through a new FOPH campaign being launched on Monday, to take an online coronavirus check to see if they need a test.

Measures, effective?

Martin Ackermann, head of the Swiss Covid-19 scientific taskforce, said the Covid situation in hospitals was developing as predicted: the numbers of hospitalisations and intensive care patients were doubling each week. “Until now, the measures have not really helped so much,” he said, referring to the first set of measures outlined by the government on October 18, which included mask wearing in indoor public places.

The latest national measures, announced on Wednesday, which impose early closing time for bars and restaurants as well as extending mask wearing further, would need around two weeks to take effect, he warned. Ackermann underlined that hospitals would also be overwhelmed in the meantime.

Canton Zurich already warned on Friday that its hospitals would “soon be very strained”.

Masserey also said it was too early to see the effects of the first national measures, as it was only 12 days since they were introduced.

How we behave now will affect the figures in late November and December, explained Ackermann.

Bern cantonal doctor Linda Nartey also warned against going door to door for trick or treating at Halloween.

The government on Friday issued a video message in German, French and Italian calling on the population to work together against the virus.

Cantons continue to tighten

Under the Swiss federal system, cantons are still allowed to introduce tighter Covid measures than the national ones.

Several cantons did just that on Friday. Jura (which has imposed a cantonal state of emergency) and Neuchâtel have stopped meetings of more than five people. Several cantons extended compulsory mask wearing to pupils in secondary I (age 12-15), going further than the national regulation of pupils aged 15-16 plus (secondary II).

Meanwhile, old people’s homes in canton Basel Country are to conduct their own corona tests - a first in Switzerland.

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