Two Swiss cantons call for military assistance as hospitalisations skyrocket

Two Swiss cantons call for military assistance as hospitalisations skyrocket
Switzerland looks set to deploy its military in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
The western Swiss cantons of Geneva and Fribourg have called for military assistance to help them manage rapidly increasing hospitalisations.

Switzerland’s Tages Anzeiger reported on Wednesday that the two cantons had applied to the Federal Council for military assistance. 



The first wave of the coronavirus remains the largest mobilisation of the Swiss army since the Second World War, when 6,000 soldiers were deployed. 

This took place from mid-March to June – and the deployment looks likely again. 

READ: Lockdown looms likely as Switzerland's epidemic reaches 'mid-March levels' 

The cantons – both in the hard-hit French-speaking region of Switzerland – said they could no longer cope with the demands of the pandemic on their own. 

Both Fribourg and Geneva have been confirmed as the cantons requesting assistance. 

As the paper reported “There are already more Covid patients in hospital care in Fribourg than in the first wave and a trend reversal in the number of infections is not yet in sight.”

Fribourg is one of Switzerland’s hardest hit cantons, with 1,333 confirmed infections per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days. 

Pursuant to the request, troops would be deployed to hospitals in the cantons to help medical staff. 

Didier Page, head of communications at the Freiburg Security Directorate, said the situation was “tense”. 

“The help of the military would lead to a certain relaxation,” Page told the Tages Anzeiger. 

The government will decide whether or not to deploy the military to the cantons as per the request in their crisis meeting on Wednesday. 




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