Coronavirus fake news watch: No, Swiss hospitals are not overrun

When it comes to coronavirus advice, a lot of misinformation circulates on social media in Switzerland. What is and isn’t true?

Coronavirus fake news watch: No, Swiss hospitals are not overrun
Dafalgan is a safer option for coronavirus patients than ibuprofen. Photo by GEORGES GOBET / AFP

Claim: Swiss hospitals are so overcrowded with coronavirus cases that Covid-19 patients are kept in beds in the hallways.

Many people in Switzerland received What's App messages over the weekend, allegedly from medical personnel at the Geneva University Hospital (HUG), University Hospital in Lausanne (CHUV), and other medical institutions saying there are not enough rooms for infected patients.

This is not true. “Currently, we are not overwhelmed”, Thierry Fumeaux, president of the Swiss Association of Intensive Care (SSMI) told RTS television.

He added that the potential problem may lie not “in the number of beds or the equipment, but in human resources”. To that end, “staff redistributions will probably have to be made, calling in people in training, people in retirement, people in the civil service, or possibly even army personnel”.

Jérôme Pugin, the head of HUG’s intensive care unit said that “today, on a scale of 1 to 10 in the gravity of the situation, we are at 2”.

And on Friday, Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga said that “We are in a position to overcome this crisis, on the medical and the financial level”, pointing out that “Switzerland is a rich country. We won't leave anyone behind”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINER: Can Switzerland handle the coronavirus pandemic?

Claim: Drinking a lot of hot water can prevent the spread of Covid-19 virus.

Social media messages encourage people to “drink all possible hot drinks because the virus will perish when exposed to heat”. 

This is negated by the fact that coronavirus is transmissible even in hot and humid climates, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).

By the same token, the messages urge people to eat raw garlic, ginger, and pepper to avoid catching the virus.

However, Didier Pittet, HUG’s head of the infectious diseases said that while “certain foods have health benefits, none can specifically fight against the virus”.

Claim: Certain medications can be harmful to coronavirus patients.

This one is actually true.

A lot of people are taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (for example, ibuprofen) to lower the fever, but these medications could exacerbate lung infections.

Swiss health authorities urge patients to use paracetamol (Dafalgan, Tylenol) instead, to safely lower fever and pain.

For more info read here: 

READ MORE: UPDATE: What you need to know about coronavirus in Switzerland 


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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?