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Several Swiss cantons to reintroduce coronavirus restrictions from Thursday

Authorities in several northern Swiss cantons have decided to reintroduce lockdown restrictions, lowering the maximum amount of people at events, restaurants and nightclubs.

Several Swiss cantons to reintroduce coronavirus restrictions from Thursday
The new rules will apply in restaurants, nightclubs and other event venues. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The cantons of Basel City, Basel Country, Aargau and Solothurn announced on Wednesday that rising infection rates necessitated the reintroduction of coronavirus lockdown measures. 

The measures will be put in place from Thursday, July 9th onwards and will include a lower maximum number of guests for nightclubs – or a mask requirement for all attendees. 

The maximum amount of guests who can attend a private party, restaurant, nightclub or other event will be reduced from 300 to 100, unless all guests wear masks while in the club. 

Patrons of clubs with fewer than 100 attendees will not require masks. 

Larger venues will be allowed to exceed the maximum on the premises provided that the number of patrons in each separate area does not exceed 100. 

Contact data must still be recorded. 

The rules will apply until December 31st, except for in Solothurn where the end date provided has been August 31st. 

The full press release can be found here

Nightclubs under scrutiny

There have been several outbreaks in Switzerland’s nightclubs, with hundreds of people forced into quarantines as a result. 

READ: With more coronavirus outbreaks, did Switzerland reopen nightclubs too soon? 

On Sunday, June 29th, Swiss authorities announced the temporary closure of Zurich’s flamingo club after a ‘superspreader’ event led to several positive coronavirus tests and required 300 people to quarantine.

News has now emerged of several further outbreaks at Swiss bars and nightclubs, with patrons receiving messages that they may be infected, with some being told to quarantine.

On Wednesday, Swiss media reported that revellers who attended Zurich’s Plaza Club on June 26th that they “may have had contact with a person suffering from Covid-19”.

A text message from the cantonal medical service told attendees “it cannot be ruled out that they were exposed to the new corona virus and infected.”

Partygoers were not forced to quarantine, but were told to avoid crowds and contact a doctor if they had symptoms.

Attendees at Terminus in Olten, Solothurn on Saturday, June 27th have been asked to quarantine after a case of coronavirus was confirmed.

The club wrote on Facebook that an attendee had tested positive.

Owner Dušan Nedeljković told 20 Minutes: “We were of course shaken by this news. You don't want any reports about positive corona tests – and certainly not if it affects a visitor to your own establishment”.

The news of the outbreaks came just one day after two further outbreaks were detected in Zurich and in the neighbouring canton of Aargau.

300 people were told to quarantine after attending the Flamingo Bar in Zurich, while 20 people have tested positive among 100 attendees at the Tesla Bar in Spreitenbach.

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HEALTH

Reader question: Are Brits in Switzerland still banned from donating blood?

For many years, people coming from the United Kingdom were banned from donating their blood in Switzerland. This is what the situation is right now.

Reader question: Are Brits in Switzerland still banned from donating blood?

The ‘blood ban’ that extended to British citizens or those of any nationality who had lived in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), was implemented for safety purposes.

The reason was the so-called mad cow disease (BSE), which was particularly rampant in Great Britain in the 1980s and 1990s.

Many people contracted and even died from the cattle-borne condition known scientifically as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.

It is believed that one in 2,000 people in the UK is a carrier of the disease. 

While most of them got BSE from eating contaminated beef, “experience tells us that the disease could be transmitted from human to human via blood”, according to a BBC report.

As a result, a number of governments, including the Swiss, prohibited people from the UK to donate blood.

However, this rule is no longer in force in Switzerland.

According to Geneva’s university hospital (HUG), which is a member of the national blood transfusion network Blutspende and follows the same rules, only people who had lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 for more than six months at a stretch still can’t donate blood.

This is a period when the BSE outbreak was at its worst in the UK.

If you had lived in Great Britain prior to or after that date, you can safely donate your blood.

Have there been any BSE cases in Switzerland?

About 465 cases had been reported in Switzerland between 1990 and 2020, with less than 20 deaths.

There are still isolated cases of BSE throughout Europe, but they are no longer a cause for as much concern as previously.

Can everyone donate blood in Switzerland?

Gay men are still not allowed to do so.

Under Swiss law, any man who has had sex with another man is prevented from donating blood for 12 months — the legislation was introduced during the the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s, while the 12-month rule was introduced in 2017.

However, in March 2020, the National Council’s Commission for Social Security and Health said the rule was “no longer appropriate” and filed a motion to rescind it. 

READ MORE: Switzerland to clear way for gay and bisexual men to donate blood

Who else is prevented from donating blood?

According to Blutspende, these medical and other conditions disqualify people from donating blood in Switzerland:

  • Positive test for HIV (AIDS), syphilis, hepatitis C and hepatitis B
  • Prostitution
  • Past or present drug use by injection
  • Blood transfusion after 01.01.1980

These reasons could be a cause for deferral though not an outright ban:

  • Stay during the past six months in a region where malaria is endemic, without any health problem (in case of illness with fever, tell the doctor at the blood donation centre).
  • Suffering from a sexually transmitted disease during the past 12 months
  • Change of sexual partner during the past four months
  • Sexual intercourse with multiple partners during the past 12 months
  • Stay of six months or longer in the past 12 months in countries with a high HIV-prevalence

More information about blood donation in Switzerland can be found here.

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