The head of the Swiss Covid-19 scientific task force said hospitals across the country of the Alps could be inundated with new coronavirus cases in the next two or three weeks unless the situation improves.
This content was published on 23 October 2020-17: 26
Keystone-SDA / sb
“We estimate that the capacity limit in intensive care in hospitals will be reached between November 5-18 if nothing changes from the current situation,” Martin Ackermann told reporters in Bern on Friday. “We don’t have time to wait any longer.”
The number of new Covid-19 cases has risen sharply in recent days. A total of 6,634 new cases – a record – were reported by Swiss health authorities on Friday.
They confirmed that the country was now more severely affected than its neighbors: it now has 495 cases per 100,000 population. Only France has come close to this level with 450 cases per 100,000.
On Friday, Ackermann said that hospitalizations were doubling week by week. The same is true for the number of intensive care cases and deaths from Covid-19. Over the past 14 days 689 people were hospitalized, and 75 died.
In all, there are now more than 100,000 cases – 103,653 to be precise – since the start of the epidemic and 1,877 deaths.
He urged people to keep their contact with others to a minimum, while the regional medical association chairperson asked people to avoid “difficult situations”, by maintaining social distancing and avoiding risky sports and recreational activities.
Testing and tracing capacity was expanded, with officials urging those who have tested positive to personally notify people they have contacted.
Ackermann told reporters that the Swiss containment strategy was no longer working due to the high number of cases. In order for the virus reproduction rate to drop below 1 again, it will be necessary to cut professional and personal contacts in half, he said.
Cantonese, mostly in western Switzerland, imposes additional drastic measures on Friday to fight the virus. This follows the Federal Council’s announcement of several national measures on October 18, such as the mandatory wearing of masks in public buildings. It will set further action on 28 October.
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