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Home News Health officials cautious about climbing Covid case numbers

Health officials cautious about climbing Covid case numbers

Published on 17/08/2021

Daily new Covid-19 cases continue to rise in Switzerland, although hospital admissions and intensive care numbers are still manageable, officials said on Tuesday.

“Unfortunately things are going in a direction we didn’t hope for,” said Patrick Mathys from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) at a news conference in Bern.

New daily Covid case numbers climbed to 3,150 on Tuesday, an increase of 85% compared to the same day last week. This represents a level not seen since autumn 2020 and Switzerland’s second wave.

Hospitalisations have also increased around ten-fold compared with the beginning of July, Mathys added. Deaths on the other hand remain low (two today), and the pressure on intensive care units is not acute.

However, both Mathys and Tanja Stadler – the new president of the government’s scientific taskforce on Covid-19 – were keen to push latest vaccination information campaign launched on Monday.

Stadler said the dominant Delta variant was so infectious that anyone not yet vaccinated will inevitably come into contact with it. This poses the risk of stretching the capacities of the hospital system – the protection of which is the government’s official goal following the move to the “normalisation” phase announced last week.

“Infections have doubled three times in a month,” Stadler said. If the same progression were to continue, the healthcare system would be as overloaded as it was during the height of the second wave last year.

As such, she encouraged all those who haven’t yet been vaccinated to do so – particularly those who are undecided, rather than those who have already “consciously” made up their mind not to do so.

As of Tuesday, just over 50% of the entire population has been fully vaccinated, that is, with two shots of either the Moderna or Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines.

International help

Officials at the press conference also talked about the international situation, and the Swiss involvement in sending medical equipment and spare vaccine doses – through the Covax Initiative – to countries in need.

As for medical equipment, such as respiratory and protective sanitary equipment, most of this has been sent to countries in Asia, said Manuel Bessler from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. Bessler mentioned the examples of India, Nepal Indonesia, and Vietnam.

As for the delivery of vaccines, Switzerland has notably said it would redistribute some four million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine via Covax – however, the deliveries are currently held up by “bureaucratic” hurdles, Mathys said.