‘Things are getting worse’: Swiss health officials call for stricter measures

‘Things are getting worse’: Swiss health officials call for stricter measures
Swiss health officials have called for stricter mask rules. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Amid rising infection rates across the country, Switzerland’s health officials have called upon cantonal authorities to put in place stricter measures.

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on Wednesday said cantonal officials should put in place further mask rules, limit large events and improve contact tracing in order to stop the spread of the virus. 

Pascal Strupler, the director of the FOPH, said in a press conference “the situation is getting worse. It is serious. We have to shift up a gear.”

The federal government has ruled out putting in place stricter arrangements, telling The Local that it is the responsibility of the canton. 

“Cantons remain responsible for the implementation and control of adequate precautionary measures in businesses/institutions/events within their jurisdiction,” a spokesperson for the FOPH told The Local on Wednesday.

The current infection rate is the highest it has been in Switzerland since April. 

In Geneva, the infection rate of 58 new infections per 100,000 is just under the threshold of 60 which Switzerland uses to determine if a country is ‘high risk’ and requires a quarantine on entry. 

“The campaign should remind the population that the virus does not go on vacation.”

What measures does the FOPH argue for? 

The FOPH argues that the compulsory mask requirement be extended to include all interiors. Currently, masks are required federally only in public transport, while they are required in shops in Vaud, Geneva and Jura. 

Cantons of Basel Country, Aargau and Solothurn, along with Basel City, require guests to wear a mask – unless the venue allows no more than 100 people to come in at one time.

READ: Where in Switzerland are masks compulsory right now? 

In addition, the FOPH to limit the maximum amount of people in nightclubs to 1000. 

The FOPH has also called for contact details to be kept in all restaurants and bars, as well as clubs. 

Strupler is optimistic that the cantons will change the rules. 

“I spent a long time talking to the cantons in charge. They have signalled to me that they are ready to take responsibility. The cantons have made a huge effort to ensure contact tracing.”

 


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