Coronavirus in Switzerland: Emergency measures set to be rolled out as death toll rises

Switzerland's federal health office (FOPH) said on Thursday that emergency quarantine measures introduced in the canton of Ticino will almost certainly be extended to the rest of Switzerland as the death toll rises to six.

Coronavirus in Switzerland: Emergency measures set to be rolled out as death toll rises
A picture taken on January 12, 2020 shows the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters prior to a combined news conference following a two-day international conference on COVID-19 coronavirus. AFP

“The rest of Switzerland will follow”,  Daniel Koch, head of FOPH’s communicable diseases division told SRF radio

“The rest of Switzerland will certainly do what’s being done in Ticino now. The wave has now arrived in Switzerland,” he said.

So the country will soon be under more restrictive measures, taken in order to protect those who are at risk.

Ticino’s measures include closing of non-compulsory public and private schools such as high-schools or vocational colleges, as well nightclubs, cinemas, gyms and ski areas. 

Elderly people in the area are discouraged from looking after children or taking public transport.

The canton also closed nine of its border points with Italy, leaving just a few crossings open for frontier workers.

Those who do not follow the regulations are liable to receive huge fines.

Not complying with the Federal Law on Epidemics — for instance, by ignoring a quarantine measure ordered by the health authorities —  can result in a 5,000-franc fine

Switzerland's emphasis now is on protecting the most vulnerable – the elderly and those with chronic health problems.

“Because for them the virus is dangerous,” Koch said. “They need hospitals. And if there are too many patients, the hospitals will not be able to cope with the situation.”

Switzerland has over 800 confirmed coronavirus cases and six deaths.

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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?