EXPLAINED: What is the latest Covid-19 situation in Switzerland?
Swiss authorities have implemented a slew of measures in a bid to curtail the increase in the number of Covid-19 infections, and prevent intensive care units from becoming overburdened.
According to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the situation is Switzerland is grim, with the positivity rate of nearly 28 percent and more than 1,060 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants.
Most infections are concentrated in Geneva, Vaud, and Zurich, though the number of cases and hospitalisations has also been rising in Neuchâtel, Jura, Fribourg, and Valais.
New national rules implemented on October 28th include a mask mandate outdoors in all areas where "the concentration of people does not allow the necessary distances to be respected"; 11 pm curfew for bars and restaurants; the closure of nightclubs and discos, as well as the limit of 10 people for private gatherings and 50 for public events.
Within days, several heavily hit cantons introduced their own set of measures, going beyond those implemented on a national level.
How long will the restrictions remain in place?
Federal rules are intended to be in force "for an indefinite period of time", FOPH said.
In Jura, the rules will remain in place at least until November 15th, in Fribourg until the 22nd, in Geneva until the 29th, and in Vaud and Fribourg until the 30th.
However, those dates are purely indicative and the lifting of measures will depend on how quickly and effectively the corona-related infection rate, hospital stays, and deaths will flatten.
In the best-case scenario, this could happen within two or three weeks; at worst, it could take months.
The hope is that things will go back to normal – whatever 'normal' is these days – in time for Christmas.
But that, too, is not certain.
"I don't know if we will be able to save Christmas," Health Minister Alain Berset said in an interview.
He refused to make predictions about a date when this might happen.
"We have to live with this uncertainty," he said.