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Swiss health officials remain upbeat about ‘favourable’ Covid trends

man eating at bar
Back to(wards) normal: eating a bar-counter lunch in western Switzerland, May 31, 2021. Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

Top health officials are optimistic about the steadily improving Covid-19 situation in Switzerland. With case numbers dropping and vaccinations growing, next week should see the launch of the Covid certificate.

A day after the latest set of easings came into effect, with restaurants and cafes now open indoor and outdoor and with more people able to gather in public, Virginie Masserey of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said on Tuesday that the situation remained favourable.

Daily new cases are still down (today 756), as are deaths (today six) and hospitalisations (15% of intensive care beds currently occupied by Covid patients).

According to the government’s scientific advisory taskforce, these trends are also backed up by analyses of wastewater in six places around the country.

However, with the current easing of restrictions, as well as those planned for later in the summer during the country’s “stabilisation” phase, Masserey also called for caution, saying the pandemic was “far from over”.

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Vaccinations

The FOPH official also commented on the vaccination rate, which has accelerated in recent weeks, with some 80,000 jabs being administered daily. As of Tuesday, 1.75 million Swiss residents had received two jabs, or 20.2% of the population.

As for the vaccination of younger groups, Masserey said that for children from the age of 12, this could be done by the end of 2021 – once the practice is given the go-ahead by regulator Swissmedic.

But vaccinations of even younger children, between six and 12, are unlikely to happen before the end of this year or the beginning of 2022, Masserey added.

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Imminent certificates

The next step in the plan to get out of the pandemic is the Covid certificate: an electronic pass to be given to each resident in Switzerland, which will state if they are vaccinated, recently tested, or recently recovered from Covid – the goal being to facilitate travel and other activities like big concerts or events.

According to a government announcement, the first certificates will be released and tested next Monday June 7, with the system put in place for everybody by the end of the month.

To help iron out bugs during this rollout period, the government have thus opened the source code of the digital certificate to a public security test. As of Monday May 31, the National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC) has been collecting corresponding test results with the aim of evaluating them, and carrying out adjustments for the final version of the certificate.

More details, and the chance to participate in the testing phase, are available on the website of the Swiss National Cyber Security CentreExternal link.

The government is scheduled to release more details about the certificate on Friday June 4.

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