Covid taskforce: ‘Switzerland must get out of the risk zone’

Martin Ackermann (left) urging the government to take further action Keystone / Peter Schneider

The Swiss government’s Covid-19 scientific taskforce has called for an immediate reduction in the “sad” number of cases and for widespread testing of the population.

This content was published on December 29, 2020 - 15:45

“With 80 deaths a day, we rank seventh in the world. It is essential to get out of the risk zone and create a safety margin in case of further aggravating factors,” Martin Ackermann, the taskforce’s president, said at a press conference on Tuesday.

Everything must be done to halve the number of infections every two weeks, he said. In addition, the mutated virus variants must be contained quickly and in a targeted manner. To this end, Ackermann advocated broad-based tests in the regions.

As additional measures Ackermann again mentioned an “extended home office” and postponing the return to school until January 11. This should prevent infections picked up during the holidays from being dragged into schools. Some cantons have already announced this.

Based on random samples, the taskforce assumes that the spread in Switzerland of the highly contagious virus variants from Britain and South Africa is currently probably less than 1%. “However, a look at London shows how quickly these highly contagious variants can spread. There, for example, the number of hospitalisations doubled within a week,” Ackermann said.

On Tuesday the Federal Office of Public Health announced 4,197 new Covid-19 infections in Switzerland in the past 24 hours and 131 deaths.

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