Switzerland adds pregnant women to coronavirus risk list
Swiss health authorities have updated the classification of ‘high risk’ individuals in the coronavirus pandemic to include pregnant women.
The Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said that pregnant women are at a higher risk from coronavirus than women of the same age who are not pregnant.
The FOPH said the risk was between 1.5 to five times higher for pregnant women, with the risks also extending to the unborn child.
Virginie Masserey, head of infection control at the BAG, said that a premature birth could be triggered if a mother and her unborn child contracted coronavirus.
“It is very difficult to say how dangerous it really is,” Masserey said on Wednesday.
“Depending on the study, the risk for pregnant women is between 1.5 and 5 times higher that the disease takes a severe course. This applies to the pregnant woman herself. However, we cannot rule out that there are also certain risks to the health of the foetus.
“The virus can also infect the placenta, which can lead to poor nutrition of the foetus. If a newborn is born with an infection, it can also be dangerous. However, we do not yet know the risks exactly.”
As reported in the Tages Anzeiger, many of the side effects of pregnancy are also risk factors for coronavirus - including obesity, high blood pressure and thrombosis.
"In addition, the immune system is generally weaker during pregnancy. A severe course of the disease also increases the risk of premature birth. The newborn can also become infected, with severe courses rarely occurring. Little is known about the effects of coronavirus infection in the first trimester of pregnancy."
Government spokesperson Patrick Mathys said pregnant women were included as soon as the new data was made available.
“As with many things related to Corona, new knowledge and data now show that there is a slightly increased risk. We did not have this data before.”
What does the risk classification mean?
The impact of the decision to include women in the risk category will have implications in the workplace.
Employers have a duty to all high-risk individuals to take additional steps to shield them from risks, including adapting work spaces or allowing them to work from home.
Masserey also said that pregnant women should strictly adhere to distancing and hygiene rules.