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COVID-19

Swiss scientists launch a new app to collect Covid-19 data

The exact extent of the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on Switzerland’s population is unknown. But a new free application launched on Thursday makes it possible to collect information about the evolution of the disease in the country.

Swiss scientists launch a new app to collect Covid-19 data
A new app will shed light on coronavirus situation. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Keeping track of the exact number of people infected by coronavirus is difficult because not everyone shows symptoms, and not all suspected cases are tested.

That’s why the true extent of the Covid pandemic in Switzerland is still unknown.

But now a new app, Corona Science, developed by researchers from the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH) and the Midata cooperative, could fill this knowledge gap.

“We want to collect data from people who do not appear in the statistics”, said Serge Bignens, one of the researchers involved in the project.

“At least 100,000 responses would be good” he added, noting that the project’s success depends on the participation of as many people as possible.

The new application, which is available in French, German, Italian, and English, is intended in particular for people suffering from Covid-19.

“We want to know what their symptoms are and how strong each of them is”, Bignens said.

READ MORE: Ending Switzerland’s coronavirus lockdown: The key questions

However, the application is not limited to those who have been infected.

Researchers also want to find out how healthy people are being affected by the pandemic and the related restrictions.

The analysis of the data will also show the psychological effects experienced by the population during and after the confinement.

“After the first use, users are invited to create an account and provide, anonymously, a weekly or even daily update”, Bignens said. Once collected, the data will be made available to researchers on an open access platform.

“Among the personal information, only the age group and the canton of residence are transmitted,” he explained.

“This would finally give us an overview of the coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland”.

The application can be downloaded on Coronascience.ch or on the Google Play Store. The iOS version will follow soon.

 

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COVID-19

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?

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