Covid-19: Why Switzerland doesn’t envisage another 'disastrous' lockdown
As some regions of France and Spain impose new coronavirus restrictions, Swiss authorities say that such drastic measures are not planned for the time being.
Even though the number of cases has been rising in certain cantons, “at the moment, it is calm in Switzerland, in terms of hospitalisations and deaths", national councilor Jörg Mäder said in an interview.
According to Mäder, the country will be able to react better than it did in March, “thanks to new knowledge about the virus”.
“Some early measures were excessive because we didn’t know where the virus was transmitted. Hospitals are also better prepared today. So we are not inevitably heading towards a second confinement," he said.
Epidemiologist Marcel Tanner, who is a member of the Covid-19 Task Force, pointed out that Switzerland’s testing and tracing strategy has been successful.
"We can speak of a second wave when it is no longer possible to determine where the transmissions took place and we can no longer act in a targeted manner", he said.
Tanner also said that if stricter measures do become necessary, “softer and more progressive options are possible, not like this spring, when elected officials had to react urgently”.
For instance, containment measures limited to one region would be possible, in order to control the development of the pandemic at a local level.
“And not all stores would necessarily have to close. We could, for example, limit the measures to people belonging to a group at risk ", he said.
He added that another lockdown “must be avoided at all costs. It would be economically and socially disastrous".
Another expert, microbiologist Martin Ackermann said that a second wave and a subsequent confinement can be avoided through “a strategy based on rules of hygiene and social distancing, wearing a mask, as well as testing and tracing people in contact with carriers of the virus”.
Ueli Maurer, former Swiss president and now the head of the Federal Department of Finance said that Switzerland “can’t afford another lockdown,” urging all residents to respect the current regulations and prevention measures.