Where in Switzerland is the rate of Covid-19 infections falling?

While the number of contaminations is soaring in some Swiss regions, two cantons managed to bring their infection rate under control after experiencing a peak just three weeks ago. This is how they did it.

Where in Switzerland is the rate of Covid-19 infections falling?
After a yodel show in Schwyz hundreds of spectators were tested positive.Photo by AFP

Canton Schwyz

The number of cases in the central Swiss canton with a population of just over 159,000 rose sharply in the past few weeks due to a series of spectator events.

According to SRF public broadcaster, which based its analysis on data from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), one of those ‘superspreader’ events was the yodeling show “Uf immer und Ewig”, where many of the 600 spectators became infected at the end of September because they were not required to wear a mask.

But the epidemiological situation in the canton “has calmed down” significantly, SFR analysis shows, due to restrictions introduced in the canton on October 30th. 

Mass events such as the yodeling festival are now banned across Switzerland, but Schwyz went even further by limiting public gatherings to 30 instead of 50 allowed on the national level, and making masks compulsory in the workplace.

As a result of these measures, the number of cases fell from 223 the last week of October to just 21 on November 8th.

“So if major events with questionable protection concepts can cause a sharp increase in the numbers, then their absence causes falling numbers”, SRF pointed out.

READ MORE: What are the coronavirus measures in every Swiss canton? 

Canton Valais:

In October and at the beginning of November, the canton had the most corona infections in relation to its population of nearly 344,000.

For instance, over 880 cases were registered on October 27th. On November 8th, 170 cases were recorded.

“The tide has turned and this has not happened by accident” , SRF said.

Cantonal authorities took action early on, even before the Federal Council introduced nationwide restrictions

Social contacts were restricted three weeks ago, and since then only 10 people have been allowed to meet at the same time. Restaurants, bars, clubs, cinemas and other leisure facilities have been closed.

And while in other Catholic cantons families went to church and the cemetery on All Saints’ Day on November 1st, this was not allowed in Valais.

As a comparison, in Fribourg which, like Valais, is predominantly Catholic, the number of coronavirus infections rose after November 1st. Gatherings on All Saints’ Day were not banned in that canton, SRF said.



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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?