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VIRUS

Swiss authorities: ‘We opened bars and nightclubs too early’

This week, about 240 people are quarantined in the Swiss city of Fribourg after being exposed to an infected person in three bars and nightclubs.

Swiss authorities: 'We opened bars and nightclubs too early'
Such ‘superspreader’ events should be avoided, authorities say. Photo by AFP

This is the latest in a series of Covid-19 outbreaks that occurred in Swiss discos and clubs in the recent weeks.

In all, dozens of people in various regions of Switzerland have tested positive, and hundreds are under preventive quarantine after contaminations that happened at the so-called ‘superspreader’ events in bars and nightclubs.

Now health authorities are wondering whether these venues should be allowed to continue their operations.

READ MORE: Mandatory masks in nightclubs in four Swiss cantons from today 

“We see that many infection 'clusters' occur at these places. It is true that we may have opened them a little early,” Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva, told RTS television. 

Flahault added that “We have not yet succeeded in sufficiently eliminating the circulation of the virus throughout Europe. Perhaps these discotheques represent danger zones and should be reopened a little later.”

No decisions have been made so far about the eventual closure of all the clubs and discotheques, beyond those where outbreaks have been found. 

But since July 9th, cantons of Basel Country, Aargau and Solothurn, along with Basel City, require guests in clubs to wear a mask – unless the venue allows no more than 100 people to come in at one time.

The maximum of 300 people are allowed on the premises.

When discos and nightclubs were allowed to re-open in Switzerland on June 8th, one of the rules was that sufficient distance between guests — first set at 2 metres and then changed to 1.5 metres — should be maintained.

However, many revellers have not complied with this measure, causing a number of infections at these venues.

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VIRUS

Swiss couple given all-clear after contact with rabid bat

The Swiss health authorities say a Swiss couple who had contact with a rabid bat during a trip to Florida are free of rabies.

Swiss couple given all-clear after contact with rabid bat
Photo: KirsanovVal/Depositphotos

The Federal Office of Public Health launched a search for the man and woman earlier this week after being alerted to the risk of infection by the United States health authorities.

In a statement on Friday it said the couple had come forward and had shown no symptoms of the fatal disease.

They had been given an injection to prevent them going on to develop rabies.

The tourists were visiting the southern US state two weeks ago when they found a bat on the ground and took it to an animal clinic, the Swiss news agency SDA reported.

A test conducted a few days later showed the animal had rabies.

It was feared the Swiss couple had contracted the virus through their contact with the bat, the health office said.

The killer virus is contained in saliva and passed on through a bite or lick to a wound.

People infected with rabies can be treated as long as no symptoms are evident – a period that can last several months.

But once symptoms occur it is too late and the disease is always fatal.

Symptoms include disorientation, paralysis and delirium.

The health office said that bats in Switzerland may also carry the virus and people finding them should avoid contact.

Although Switzerland has been considered officially rabies-free since 1998 the virus is still occasionally found in bats.

Last year a man in Neuchâtel was bitten by a rabid bat, SDA said.