SHARE
COPY LINK

HEALTH

Switzerland calls ‘crisis summit’ in bid to avoid second lockdown

The Swiss government will hold a ‘crisis summit’ on Thursday to discuss what steps can be taken to avoid a second lockdown.

Switzerland calls 'crisis summit' in bid to avoid second lockdown
Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The Swiss government has called a ‘crisis meeting’ to determine how a second lockdown can be avoided. 

President Simonetta Sommaruga, Health Minister Alain Berset, Economics Minister Guy Parmelin, President of the Conference of the Cantonal Governments Christian Rathgeb, Lukas Engelberger and Christoph Brutschin, top health and economics directors, will attend the meeting. 

In calling for the 'crisis summit', Sommaruga is hoping to avoid an economically and socially destructive second lockdown, reports Swiss tabloid Blick

 

 

According to Blick, the government believes that if numbers continue on their present trajectory, “a new lockdown becomes increasingly likely”. 

On Tuesday October 13th, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) detected a total of 1,445 new cases over the past 24 hours.

Perhaps most concerning for the government was the increases in hospital admissions, with 70 across the past 24 hours. 

While higher case numbers can at least in part be due to more extensive testing, increases in hospitalisation can lead to overflows and higher death rates. 

'Indeed worrying'

At a press conference on Monday, Swiss Health Minister said he was “indeed worried” about the situation, whic was “critical, but under control”. 

“The most important thing is to be careful, to keep your distance and to wear masks,” he said .

Despite the rates, measures have been applied inconsistently across Switzerland. Around half of all cantons do not require masks in shops or supermarkets. 

UPDATE: Where in Switzerland are masks compulsory right now? 

The meeting is set to take place in Bern on Thursday. 

 

 

Member comments

  1. The crisis here is only a psychological one. Swiss cumulative mortality hit long term average in week 35 of 2020 (see the graph on swprs.org). That means 2020 is a normal year in terms of deaths. It’s a similar year to 2018. There is no crisis in Switzerland. Not the first time, nor this time.

    If not for the rest of the world losing its collective mind nobody would have noticed anything here, nor in Germany, nor in many other parts of the world, because the absolute numbers are tiny. People have lost all sense of proportion.

    But worse, the Blick article shows how delusional and detached from reality the ruling classes have become in every country. The story of the Emperor’s New Clothes is so appropriate here. They are afraid to point out or acknowledge that COVID is another Swine Flu, it was over-estimated, that it’s not actually a scary or deadly disease, and that the scientists and modellers were completely wrong because the implications of that terrify them more than the destruction they’re creating with lockdowns. They are terrified to implicitly accuse their friends in other governmental leadership positions of doing the wrong thing, so they all jump off the cliff together and take the rest of us with them.

    Yet we can see with our own eyes! Deaths sitting at the flatline. Hospitalisations too. PCR tests have false positives, in fact there are numerous cases where they’ve had enormous FP rates (>10%), so even these few cases are certainly not real. How can anyone have confidence in Sommaruga when she calls a crisis summit over that?

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

CANNABIS

UPDATE: What are Switzerland’s rules for cannabis consumption?

Switzerland has a complicated set of rules for both medical and recreational cannabis consumption. Here's what you need to know.

UPDATE: What are Switzerland's rules for cannabis consumption?

Long prohibited and seen as a gateway drug with potentially dangerous impacts, countries across the globe have begun legalising cannabis in recent years. 

While the legalisation for medical use has been widespread, there have also been successful legalisation campaigns in several countries. 

The situation in Switzerland is also in flux and has been complicated by a range of recent changes.

Whether referred to as cannabis, marijuana or hemp, Switzerland’s Narcotics Act qualifies it as “a psychoactive substance”, with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being its most intoxicating ingredient.

The law specifies that “only THC is controlled under the Narcotics Act. Other active substances like cannabidiol (CBD) are not subject to the Narcotics Act as they do not have comparable psychoactive effects”.

Here’s what you need to know. 

Switzerland has legalised medical marijuana 

As of August 1st, the use of cannabis for medical purposes will be allowed in Switzerland

Patients who are medically prescribed the drug will no longer need to seek exceptional permission from the health ministry, as was the case prior to August 1st. 

Demand for cannabis-based treatments has risen sharply, with the health ministry issuing 3,000 exceptional authorisations in 2019.

The government “intends to facilitate access to cannabis for medical use for patients” and was therefore lifting the ban on its use for that purpose, it said in a statement.

The previous procedure involved “tedious administrative procedures”, said the ministry. “Sick people must be able to access these medicines without excessive bureaucracy.”

As of August 1st, “the decision as to whether a cannabis medicinal product is to be used therapeutically will be made by the doctor together with the patient” the government wrote

The sale and consumption of cannabis for non-medical purposes will remain prohibited.

READ MORE: Switzerland to lift ban on medical use cannabis

The new regulations could benefit thousands of people suffering from severe chronic pain, it added, including those with cancer and multiple sclerosis.

READ ALSO: Why Basel is about to become Switzerland’s marijuana capital

The law change will also mean that the cultivation, processing, manufacture and trade of cannabis for medical use will be subject to the Swissmedic regulatory authority, just as with other narcotics for medical use such as cocaine, methadone and morphine.

Legality of recreational cannabis is determined by the THC

THC of at least 1 percent is generally prohibited in Switzerland and use of products with this (or higher) content may be punishable by a 100-franc fine.

Of course, if someone is determined to smoke it, 100 francs may not be much a deterrent — but that’s a subject for another article.

“By contrast, possession of up to 10g of cannabis for personal use is not considered a criminal offence”, the law states, as long as it is not used by or sold to minors.

Italy's constitutional court has blocked the latest efforts to legalise cannabis.

Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP.

And, as with nearly everything else in decentralised Switzerland, “there are still considerable differences between cantons regarding implementation of the fixed penalty procedure”.

However, “cannabis flowers intended for smoking with a high proportion of cannabidiol (CBD) and less than 1 percent THC can be sold and purchased legally”, according to the legislation. 

That’s because, unlike the THC, cannabidiol “does not have a psychoactive effect”.

In other words, low-content THC and CBD will not give the “high” that recreational users seek.

When will Switzerland legalise recreational cannabis?

Currently, small amounts of recreational cannabis are tolerated in Switzerland.

“The decisive factor for classification as a banned drug is how much THC is contained in a cannabis product. If the THC content exceeds one per cent, the product is prohibited. Hashish is prohibited regardless of its THC content.”

As noted by the Swiss government, “If you are caught in possession of a small amount of cannabis (no more than 10 grams) for your own consumption, you will not be fined. In addition, if you supply (but do not sell) up to 10 grams to an adult, e.g. when sharing joints, you will not be fined.”

“If you are caught using cannabis, you may be given a fixed penalty fine of 100 francs.”

In June 2020, the National Council approved a plan to start cannabis trials for recreational use.

The experiments are to be carried out in Switzerland’s larger cities. Basel, Bern, Biel, Geneva and Zurich have all expressed interest in conducting the trials. 

The study seeks to find out how the market for cannabis works – and how to combat the black market. The social effects of legalisation will also be examined. 

At this point, no decisions have been made. However, Swiss authorities have set certain conditions in case recreational use is approved.

The National Council said if cannabis were to be legalised, it must be locally grown in Switzerland – and it must be organic. 

Health Minister Alain Berset noted that legalisation should benefit Swiss farmers even though “very few producers have experience in this area”.

READ MORE: Switzerland backs recreational cannabis trials – with one condition

Can you grow your own cannabis?

In truth, a number of people cultivate marijuana plants on their balconies or in their (secluded) gardens for their own personal use.

As it turns out, the law allows it, as long as it is a variety of the plant that does not have a narcotic effect — that is, the THC content must be less than 1 percent. 

By the same token, cannabis-based products with THC content of below 1 percent can be brought into Switzerland from abroad.

However, the import rules differ depending on the type of product  it is — flowers, seeds, extracts, oils, or other goods.

How much cannabis is consumed in Switzerland each year?

Precise numbers are hard to come by, but according to an article in Le Temps, which based its information on a medical study, about 100 tonnes are consumed in the country annually.

Cannabis remains the largest market in terms of volume: it represents 85 percent of drugs consumed in Switzerland, netting between 340, 000 and 500,000 francs per year.

READ MORE: Drugs and alcohol: Just how much do the Swiss consume?

SHOW COMMENTS