‘We’re on a dangerous slope’: Swiss officials fear more Covid-19 cases as seasons change

As the number of Covid-19 cases continues to climb in Switzerland, the coming months ‘could be tough’, health experts warn.

'We're on a dangerous slope': Swiss officials fear more Covid-19 cases as seasons change
As the weather gets colder, the number of coronavirus cases is expected to increase. Photo by AFP

In the past few days the number of coronavirus infections in the country has exceeded 200 a day, rising nearly twofold from previous weeks.

That is a substantial rise from the month of June, when the count for daily cases was in the low two- digits.

“The increase is significant. We were a little too confident,” Jacques Fellay, a member of Switzerland’s Covid-19 Task Force told the Swiss media. 

According to Fellay, if the numbers continue to soar, the country “will experience a very complicated autumn and winter”.

“We are on a dangerous slope,” he said.

Fellay added that the current number of infections must decrease before the start of the cold season, which is more favourable to the spread of the virus.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Switzerland records highest number of new cases since April 

As people tend to spend more time indoors during cold weather, the number of infections is expected to soar.

“The large outbreaks that have been identified so far happened essentially in closed places,” he noted.

And if the situation continues to worsen, a return to confinements cannot be ruled out, Fellay pointed out.

“In Switzerland, we can very well imagine confinements in the coming months targeted on a region, a city or a village,” he said.

Such a scenario is likely to happen if the number of daily cases exceeds 300 within a month.

The only way to prevent the surge in numbers, Fellay said, is to wear a mask and avoid large gatherings until the arrival of a vaccine, which could be ready sometime in 2021.

Bigger gatherings allowed with rules

Meanwhile, the Swiss government has announced this week that it will allow gatherings of more than 1,000 people as of October 1st. 

“Strict protective measures will apply and the events will have to be authorised by the cantons, taking into account the local epidemiological situation and their contact tracing capacity,” authorities said.

Health officials are also worried that the spread of Covid-19 will coincide with the flu season, which usually hits in fall and winter.

According to Giorgio Merlani, Ticino’s cantonal doctor, “The flu can have a severe impact on the capacity of hospitals. We cannot afford it this winter as a second wave of coronavirus arrives.”


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9,000 lightning bolts: Heavy storms sweep across Switzerland

Hurricane-like gusts have swept across much of Switzerland on Sunday and Monday. Weather experts have counted at least 9,000 lightning bolts striking since Sunday.

9,000 lightning bolts: Heavy storms sweep across Switzerland

As of Monday morning however, the storms have largely receded in most of the country. 

Swiss weather service Meteonews said the canton of Bern was the heaviest hit, with 2,500 lightning strikes. 

Around 850 were recorded in Uri, followed by Fribourg, Vaud and St Gallen. 

Winds of 111km/h were recorded on the Weissfluhjoch summit, while wind speeds of 85km/h were recorded in Meiringen and Sitten. 

Monday will experience some winds, but will largely be sunny. 

Temperatures of 24C degrees are predicted in the north of the country, while heights of 30C are predicted for the centre and south.