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Swiss intensive care units set to reach capacity in 15 days

Published on October 27, 2020

If no action is taken, ICU (intensive care unit) beds in Switzerland will last another 15 days, a top health official has warned.

“We now collect bed numbers daily. In the intensive care units, the number of free beds is now collected twice a day,” Andreas Stettbacher, the government delegate for the Coordinated Medical Service, told a press conference in Bern on Tuesday.

“I don’t have good news. Unless we take action, ICU beds will be fully occupied in 15 days.”

The figures would be published twice a week, he said.

At the same press conference, the head of the federal Covid-19 taskforce repeatedly stressed the gravity of the situation. Many cantons had taken effective measures, but the public was not behaving appropriately. “Stay at home whenever possible,” Martin Ackermann urged.

People are not restricting their mobility as they did in mid-March, he said. The mobility level is currently much higher than at the peak of the first coronavirus wave.

“We have no time to lose,” Ackermann said. “There are no alternatives to drastic measures. The hospitals are already at their limits. If the trend continues, it will no longer be possible to treat everyone who need medical help.”

The taskforce therefore assumes that the government will decide on further measures on Wednesday. A lockdown must also be an option, Ackermann said.

Coronavirus infections in Switzerland rose by 5,949 on Tuesday, according to data from health authorities.

Total confirmed cases in Switzerland and neighbouring Liechtenstein increased to 127,042 and the death toll rose by 16 to 1,930.

Keystone-SDA/ts