The Swiss health authorities have decided to add mainland Spain and six other nations to its list of coronavirus risk countries. People entering Switzerland from these countries have to go into quarantine for ten days to help curb the spread of Covid-19.This content was published on August 5, 2020 - 16:47
The measure will take effect from Saturday, said Patrick Mathys, head of crisis management for the Federal Office of Public Health.
The other countries added are The Bahamas, Singapore, Equatorial Guinea, Sint Maarten, Romania, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Spain’s Balearic and Canary Islands were excluded from the measure and three countries – Russia, Azerbaijan and the United Arab Emirates – were removed from the 46-country risk list.
Spain is a major holiday destination for Swiss tourists and there is a considerable Spanish diaspora in Switzerland.
The health office also announced that pregnant women would now be considered part of the group of vulnerable people. It called on them to avoid close contact with other people and observe the hygiene rules.
Scientific evidence proved that the health of pregnant women, but also the unborn, could be at risk in case of infections, said Virginie Masserey of the health office.
Mathys confirmed that Switzerland was about to sign a deal to secure access to a vaccine being developed by the United States company Moderna.
He refused to give further details, but he said the deal would put Switzerland in pole position worldwide for the distribution of the vaccine produced by the Swiss-based biotech firm Lonza.
The health office also announced that 2.15 million people – 25% of residents in Switzerland – had downloaded a Covid tracing app launched six weeks ago.
In addition, officials said they hoped to boost cooperation between the national and the 26 cantonal health authorities by the end of next month. The aim is to improve the quality of data collection and data exchange, notably to identify the source of Covid-19 infections.
“The overall situation in Switzerland has stabilised compared with the previous week,” Mathys said, “but it remains critical.”