In a wide-ranging interview with Swiss media on Thursday, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset refused to rule out restrictions remaining in place until 2021.
While German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday the goal of her country’s extensive coronavirus measures was to reduce infection rates and allow people to travel again during the festive season, Berset said residents of Switzerland should plan as if the measures would remain in place until the new year.
A party of ten?
Pursuant to the rules that came into place on October 29th, groups of more than 10 people are not allowed to meet under the proposed rules.
This includes all private events such as birthdays and weddings.
When asked if the ten-person limit on groups would remain in place in the festive season, Berset told 20 Minutes he was planning as if they would.
“I don't know (about an end date for the restrictions)”, Berset said.
“It depends on how the numbers develop. But at the moment I would only plan a party with ten people.
“I am currently planning a Christmas party with a maximum of ten people.”
When announcing the measures, Berset also declined to suggest an end date.
“We first have to see whether the measures are effective,” said Berset.
“We cannot look into a crystal ball.”
New record in daily infections
The discussion came on the same day that Switzerland broke its all time record for new infections.
On Thursday October 29th, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) detected a total of 9,386 new cases over the past 24 hours – a record for any 24-hour period since the pandemic began.
There were 31 deaths and 287 hospital admissions nationwide.
The new numbers came from 35,230 tests – meaning there was a 26.6 percent test positivity rate – another major concern for Swiss authorities.
Just over two weeks ago, Swiss health authorities said a six percent test positivity rate – around than a fourth of the current rate – was too high.
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29.10. Aktueller Stand sind 145'044 laborbestätigte Fälle, 9'836 mehr als am Vortag. Gemeldete Tests: 35'230 in den letzten 24 Stunden.https://t.co/RTWF8jbM2p pic.twitter.com/uWGWkozlJ0
— BAG – OFSP – UFSP (@BAG_OFSP_UFSP) October 29, 2020