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IN NUMBERS: What is the coronavirus situation in Switzerland now?

Lockdown restrictions continue to be lifted across Switzerland as cases of the coronavirus dwindle.

IN NUMBERS: What is the coronavirus situation in Switzerland now?
Swiss cellist Joelle Mauris performing as citizen initiative during the restarting of Geneva's landmark fountain, known as "Jet d'Eau". Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

This article was updated on June 18th.

Switzerland’s third round of coronavirus lockdown relaxations took place on June 6th. 

Other than large gatherings and events like music festivals and sporting fixtures – as well as distance requirements in most bars, restaurants and shops – things have an appearance of normality across Switzerland. 

READ: What you are allowed to do in Switzerland again as of June 6th 

R1

On June 17th, Professor Matthias Egger, the President of the Research Council and head of the Covid-19 Task Force, told SRF that Switzerland’s r-rate had again risen above 1

On the evening of Wednesday, June 17th, the official r-rate was at 1.1 in Switzerland. 

This rate is an average across the country and does not take into account regional variations. 

Egger said any further relaxations of the coronavirus lockdown measures should be avoided until the rate was again under control. 

Swiss authorities are set to meet on June 19th to discuss a further easing of measures, with Health Minister Alain Berset expected to relax the 2-metre distance requirement, replacing it with a 1.5-metre requirement. 

17

That’s the number of new cases in the 24 hours to June 18th in Switzerland. After a slight decline in the average daily new infections in June – including several days in single digits – the rates have increased slightly. 

There has been an average of 20 cases per day for the past week leading up to June 18th. 

 

 

31,215

The total number of detected cases of the virus since the outbreak began. 

Detection of a coronavirus infection depends on testing, which means that the actual cases in the community must be higher. 

461,128

A total of 461,128 tests have been performed in Switzerland, of which 8 percent were positive.

1,956

The number of coronavirus deaths in Switzerland as at June 18th according to reporting from the cantons.

The daily death tolls have declined significantly since the end of April, with fewer than one fatality a day since the end of May. 

Of the 1,581 deceased persons for whom the data are complete, 97 percent suffered from at least one preexisting disease.

The three most frequently mentioned were hypertension (63 percent), cardiovascular disease (57 percent) and diabetes (26 percent).

28,900

According to cantonal figures, more than 28,100 people have contracted the virus and healed as at June 18th – although as Patrick Mathys, Head of the Crisis Management and International Cooperation Section of FOPH, has said previously, Switzerland itself does not release official figures of those who healed from the virus. 

“With flu, we don't ask ourselves this. It's basically simple: either you die from the coronavirus or you recover.”

June 19th

The official end date of the state of emergency in Switzerland, as announced by Health Minister Alain Berset on May 27th. 

The state of emergency was first declared on March 16th. 

July 1st

This is the date when the state of emergency will end in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino. 

Ticino, which shares a long border with northern Italy, has been the hardest hit canton on a per capita basis. 

In addition to a longer state of emergency period, Ticino was also the last to emerge from the lockdown restrictions. 

An Italian delegation travels to the Swiss canton of Ticino. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Six percent

According to a study released on Thursday, only six percent of Swiss commuters wear masks on public transport.

The study, completed by mobility company Swisstraffic and published in media outlet Tages Anzeiger, surveyed approximately 10,000 people at train stations across Switzerland using video footage. 

The researchers found that 94 percent of passengers travelled without masks. The most obedient passengers were in Lausanne, where approximately eight percent wore masks. 

Which cantons have been hardest hit? 

All of the 26 cantons in Switzerland have recorded cases of the coronavirus. All but two – Obwalden and Appenzell Ausserrhoden – have seen fatalities. 

The latest figures confirms that there have been more than 31,180+ cases and 1,950+ deaths since the outbreak began.

The interactive map below shows which cantons in the country currently have the most cases and fatalities. 

Note: Due to the way in which the virus numbers are reported – sometimes directly via the cantons before requiring centralised approval in Geneva – there can occasionally be discrepancies. 

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CANNABIS

UPDATE: What are Switzerland’s rules for cannabis consumption?

Switzerland has a complicated set of rules for both medical and recreational cannabis consumption. Here's what you need to know.

UPDATE: What are Switzerland's rules for cannabis consumption?

Long prohibited and seen as a gateway drug with potentially dangerous impacts, countries across the globe have begun legalising cannabis in recent years. 

While the legalisation for medical use has been widespread, there have also been successful legalisation campaigns in several countries. 

The situation in Switzerland is also in flux and has been complicated by a range of recent changes.

Whether referred to as cannabis, marijuana or hemp, Switzerland’s Narcotics Act qualifies it as “a psychoactive substance”, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being its most intoxicating ingredient.

The law specifies that “only THC is controlled under the Narcotics Act. Other active substances like cannabidiol (CBD) are not subject to the Narcotics Act as they do not have comparable psychoactive effects”.

Here’s what you need to know. 

Switzerland has legalised medical marijuana 

As of August 1st, the use of cannabis for medical purposes will be allowed in Switzerland

Patients who are medically prescribed the drug will no longer need to seek exceptional permission from the health ministry, as was the case prior to August 1st. 

Demand for cannabis-based treatments has risen sharply, with the health ministry issuing 3,000 exceptional authorisations in 2019.

The government “intends to facilitate access to cannabis for medical use for patients” and was therefore lifting the ban on its use for that purpose, it said in a statement.

The previous procedure involved “tedious administrative procedures”, said the ministry. “Sick people must be able to access these medicines without excessive bureaucracy.”

As of August 1st, “the decision as to whether a cannabis medicinal product is to be used therapeutically will be made by the doctor together with the patient” the government wrote

The sale and consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes will remain prohibited.

READ MORE: Switzerland to lift ban on medical use cannabis

The new regulations could benefit thousands of people suffering from severe chronic pain, it added, including those with cancer and multiple sclerosis.

READ ALSO: Why Basel is about to become Switzerland’s marijuana capital

The law change will also mean that the cultivation, processing, manufacture and trade of cannabis for medical use will be subject to the Swissmedic regulatory authority, just as with other narcotics for medical use such as cocaine, methadone and morphine.

Legality of recreational cannabis is determined by the THC

THC of at least 1 percent is generally prohibited in Switzerland and use of products with this (or higher) content may be punishable by a 100-franc fine.

Of course, if someone is determined to smoke it, 100 francs may not be much a deterrent — but that’s a subject for another article.

“By contrast, possession of up to 10g of cannabis for personal use is not considered a criminal offence”, the law states, as long as it is not used by or sold to minors.

Italy's constitutional court has blocked the latest efforts to legalise cannabis.

Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP.

And, as with nearly everything else in decentralised Switzerland, “there are still considerable differences between cantons regarding implementation of the fixed penalty procedure”.

However, “cannabis flowers intended for smoking with a high proportion of cannabidiol (CBD) and less than 1 percent THC can be sold and purchased legally”, according to the legislation. 

That’s because, unlike the THC, cannabidiol “does not have a psychoactive effect”.

In other words, low-content THC and CBD will not give the “high” that recreational users seek.

When will Switzerland legalise recreational cannabis?

Currently, small amounts of recreational cannabis are tolerated in Switzerland.

“The decisive factor for classification as a banned drug is how much THC is contained in a cannabis product. If the THC content exceeds one per cent, the product is prohibited. Hashish is prohibited regardless of its THC content.”

As noted by the Swiss government, “If you are caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis (no more than 10 grams) for your own consumption, you will not be fined. In addition, if you supply (but do not sell) up to 10 grams to an adult, e.g. when sharing joints, you will not be fined.”

“If you are caught using cannabis, you may be given a fixed penalty fine of 100 francs.”

In June 2020, the National Council approved a plan to start cannabis trials for recreational use.

The experiments are to be carried out in Switzerland’s larger cities. Basel, Bern, Biel, Geneva and Zurich have all expressed interest in conducting the trials. 

The study seeks to find out how the market for cannabis works – and how to combat the black market. The social effects of legalisation will also be examined. 

At this point, no decisions have been made. However, Swiss authorities have set certain conditions in case recreational use is approved.

The National Council said if cannabis were to be legalised, it must be locally grown in Switzerland – and it must be organic. 

Health Minister Alain Berset noted that legalisation should benefit Swiss farmers even though “very few producers have experience in this area”.

READ MORE: Switzerland backs recreational cannabis trials – with one condition

Can you grow your own cannabis?

In truth, a number of people cultivate marijuana plants on their balconies or in their (secluded) gardens for their own personal use.

As it turns out, the law allows it, as long as it is a variety of the plant that does not have a narcotic effect — that is, the THC content must be less than 1 percent. 

By the same token, cannabis-based products with THC content of below 1 percent can be brought into Switzerland from abroad.

However, the import rules differ depending on the type of product  it is — flowers, seeds, extracts, oils, or other goods.

How much cannabis is consumed in Switzerland each year?

Precise numbers are hard to come by, but according to an article in Le Temps, which based its information on a medical study, about 100 tonnes are consumed in the country annually.

Cannabis remains the largest market in terms of volume: it represents 85 percent of drugs consumed in Switzerland, netting between 340, 000 and 500,000 francs per year.

READ MORE: Drugs and alcohol: Just how much do the Swiss consume?

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