Talks continue to improve hospital cooperation over Covid beds

The health care service for patients at home (archive picture) was praised by Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga on a visit to Lucerne on Monday. © Keystone/Gaetan Bally

Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga has downplayed a controversy about a perceived lack of cooperation between the national and cantonal authorities over Covid-related hospitalisations.

This content was published on November 16, 2020 - 14:39 with Keystone-SDA/ug

She said differences of opinion existed, but talks were continuing.

Earlier this month, Interior Minister Alan Berset publicly criticised cantonal health authorities for apparently refusing to prioritise Covid-19 patients from other regions, but instead they continued to carry out regular surgeries.

His comment caused irritation as the 26 cantons have wide-ranging autonomy notably over health issues.

On a visit to central Switzerland, Sommaruga said she was impressed by the work the health personnel in hospitals and home care services have been doing.

The row over overcapacities in intensive care units – notably in western Switzerland – came as the number of Covid-19 infections rose rapidly in October, prompting fears of a shortage of hospital beds and health staff.

Sommaruga said the Covid situation continued to be “serious”.

Meanwhile, the Federal Office of Public Health has reported 12,839 new cases and 198 Covid-related deaths over the past three days.

This is nearly 4,470 infections fewer than a week ago. At the beginning of the month the authorities reported a tally of nearly 22,000 in three days.

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