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Covid infections to stabilise ‘at a high level’, Swiss experts say

Published on October 12, 2021

Swiss health officials say new Covid-19 infections, hospital admissions and deaths are all expected to stabilise, but the situation in hospitals remains tense.

Patrick Mathys of the Federal Office for Public Health said the data showed that the latest Covid wave appeared to be levelling off after weeks of falling infections.

He said the overall situation in Switzerland was “relatively good” but it was too early to give the all-clear. In mountain regions and rural areas in eastern Switzerland, for example, the number of new reported infections was rising again.

Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, health experts said hospitals were still under pressure and about 17% of intensive care beds were occupied by Covid patients, most of them not vaccinated.

The statements came ahead of a government decision on Wednesday on efforts to boost the sluggish vaccination campaign. Currently, just over 60% of Swiss residents are fully vaccinated – one of the lowest rates in western Europe.

The weekly seven-day average of new infections fell to 904 a day on Tuesday. A total of 415 Covid patients are currently in hospital.

Pfizer/BioNTech  and Moderna (both mRNA technologies) are the two main vaccines used in Switzerland. The government recently signed a contract with the Janssen firm, part of the Johnson & Johnson group, for 150,000 doses of its non-mRNA vaccine.  On Tuesday, Linda Nartey, a senior representative of the 26 cantonal health authorities, said that so far there had been only limited demand from the public for the Johnson & Johnson single jab vaccine.

The issue of voluntary vaccinations and the use of Covid certificates – showing a person has been vaccinated, has recovered from a Covid infection or has tested negative – remains controversial and has led to several public demonstrations.

Voters will have the final say in November about a legal amendment regarding the use of the certificate.