Why is the number of Covid-19 infections rising in Switzerland?

Why is the number of Covid-19 infections rising in Switzerland?
Foreign travel increases the risk of infections. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
The number of coronavirus infections has been rising in Switzerland in the past weeks. What are the reasons for this upward trend?

As the World Health Organization is warning about the resurgence of coronavirus cases in Europe, Switzerland too has recorded more contaminations in recent weeks.

READ MORE: WHO warns of Europe virus spike as countries impose new curbs

“There is a trend of increasing infections”, Andreas Cerny, an infectious disease specialist at the Moncucco Hospital in Lugano said in an interview.

While single and double-digit numbers were recorded in Switzerland throughout June, this month’s figures have exceeded 100 cases a day, with most reported in the cantons of Vaud, Geneva, Zurich, and Ticino.

In the past 24 hours,160 new cases have been recorded, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). 

That is the highest number so far for July.

Cerny attributed this spike to several factors, including foreign travel.

“People returning from high-risk countries pose a risk of ‘importing’ the virus from abroad”, he said.

Authorities said that thousands of people arrived from countries at risk in recent weeks. But only less than half reported their return to cantonal health authorities and complied with the quarantine requirement.

Additionally, large-scale venues like clubs, where the distance rule cannot be observed, “are also infection hotspots”, he added.

Numerous cases of coronavirus had been identified in bars and clubs in several cantons, in what has become known as ‘superspreader’ events. 

“The number of new cases is extremely important because it’s the earliest indication of the pandemic”, Antoine Flahault, the director of the Global Health Institute at the University of Geneva, , said in a YouTube video published by Le Temps newspaper.

The recent increase in the number of contaminations can be attributed to the lifting of various post-confinement restrictions, including freedom of movement and travel, Flahault pointed out.

But there is another reason too: more testing.

“The more tests are done, the more cases will be discovered”, he said.

He added that Switzerland went from about 3,000 daily tests at the beginning of June to 10,000 at the beginning of July.

“This explains, at least party, the increase in the number of cases in recent weeks”.


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