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Delta variant behind a third of all new Swiss Covid cases

The vaccination campaign rolls on in Switzerland. Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

The Covid Delta variant is progressing in the country and currently accounts for some 30% of new cases, the Federal Office for Public Health (FOPH) said on Tuesday.

This content was published on July 6, 2021 - 16:47
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Virginie Masserey, head of the FOPH’s infectious diseases section, told a news briefing in Bern that it was still too soon to say if the variant was behind the recent rise in case numbers, but that it may be a factor along with pre-holiday testing, recent openings and big events like Euro 2020.

Three weeks ago the Delta strain accounted for just 2% of new Covid cases. Experts estimate that the variant, which was first flagged in India, is 50% more contagious than the normal strain.

On Tuesday 274 new confirmed Covid cases were reported in Switzerland, more than double that on the same day last week. There were no deaths in relation with the virus, and three new hospitalisations.

Martin Ackermann, head of the federal scientific taskforce, said at the briefing on Tuesday that the current rise in case numbers was “not unexpected”, and that the country “had not yet emerged from the danger zone”.

Vaccination push

Ackermann said he was most concerned about people aged over 80, 80% of whom by now have either contracted Covid or been vaccinated.

Echoing the comments of Health Minister Alain Berset at the weekend, Ackermann said this age group was still at risk if not vaccinated, stressing that “the right time to vaccinate is now”. 

He said Switzerland was far from achieving the coverage among older people in the UK, where 98% of over-70-year-olds now have antibodies against the coronavirus.

As of July 4, just under 38% of the Swiss resident population has been fully vaccinated, while over 50% have received at least one dose.

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