IN NUMBERS: Reasons to be optimistic about the coronavirus situation in Switzerland

Data from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) shows that the rate of contaminations is declining, especially in the hardest-hit Swiss cantons.

IN NUMBERS: Reasons to be optimistic about the coronavirus situation in Switzerland
Measures such as make in and outdoors helped bring infection rates down. Photo by AFP

According to FOPH, after peaking in early November, infections are slowing down in most of the country. Between the first and second week of November, the number of cases dropped by 23.4 percent. 

During the month of October, the positivity rate per 100,000 people was 2101. For the past two weeks, that number fell to 849,2. 

This improvement is most marked in French-speaking Switzerland, where various restrictions were put in place at the end of October to curb record-high numbers of infections. The biggest decrease is in the canton of Jura, which recorded 42 percent less cases. Next are Fribourg (-38 percent), Valais (-36 percent) and Neuchâtel (-35 percent).

READ MORE: Covid-19 in Switzerland: Five reasons to be optimistic 

On the other hand, infection rates in some German-speaking cantons, which have been relatively unaffected by the pandemic, are on the rise.

In Basel City, for instance, increasing infection rates prompted local officials to introduce stricter coronavirus measures from Monday. 

Basel City along with Basel Country, Obwalden and Uri are the only Swiss-German cantons where infections are currently rising.

The R-rate

Another indication that infections are declining is the latest R number— a way of rating the speed at which the disease spreads.

Only two weeks ago, the R rate in Switzerland was 1.05. If this value is greater than 1, the daily number of cases increases exponentially. But if it is lower, they decrease.

Now the nationwide average is 0.78. Experts say that if Switzerland can maintain this rate, the daily number of new infections will be halved every 14 days. 

“This looks like a trend reversal”, said FOPH’s director Anne Lévy. 

“I am confident that we are going in the right direction”, she added.

Hospital admissions and deaths

The number of hospital admissions is also slowly dropping, though it still remains high.

According to FOPH, the rate of hospitalisations was 243 per 100,000 people on November 11th. That number dropped to 13 cases per 100,000 on the 19th. 

The number of coronavirus-related deaths is also declining, although the numbers are still high.

From 95 cases per 100,000 on November 12th, the number fell to 37 on November 19th. 

Authorities say there is approximately a three-week delay between the time a patient is admitted to a hospital and their death. So, the latest numbers are likely still related to patients who were hospitalised before the infection rates dropped.



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‘A new wave’: Concern in Switzerland as Covid numbers continue to climb

This week has not been good in terms of coronavirus infections in Switzerland. But there’s positive news as well: the number of hospitalisations and deaths has not gone up. Here is an overview of the current situation.

'A new wave': Concern in Switzerland as Covid numbers continue to climb
There are fewer Covid patients in Swiss hospitals. Photo by John MACDOUGALL / AFP

When analysing statistics, keep in mind that national figures include Liechtenstein, so the numbers for Switzerland alone are slightly lower.

The number of reported Covid cases has increased significantly since March 16th: from 1,438 at the beginning of the week to 1,858 on  Wednesday and 1,750 on Thursday.

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has not said whether this spike is related to the increased number of tests performed in Switzerland since the free screening scheme was introduced on March 15th.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How will Switzerland’s free coronavirus ‘self-testing’ scheme work?

What is known, however, is that mutated viruses, particularly the UK variant, are responsible for 80 percent of all infections detected in Switzerland at the present moment.

Most cases, as this colour-coded map shows, are in Geneva and Vaud (darkest colour), followed by Valais Ticino, and Uri. Glarus and Appenzell Innerhoden have registered fewest cases.


The R-rate now stands at 1.14. If the number is greater than 1, the virus is spreading more intensely and infecting more people.

On the map below, red areas indicate where the R-rate exceeds 1.


READ MORE: Will Switzerland end its shutdown on Monday?

All these figures mean that the third wave of the pandemic may be near, health experts warn.

“When the number of cases increases so rapidly, we can speak of a new wave”, said Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute for Global Health at the University of Geneva.

On the positive side, the number of Covid patients in the intensive care units has not increased. At 5,88 cases for 100,000 inhabitants, the rate is the lowest since September 2020.

The same applies to coronavirus-related deaths: 1,34 cases/100,000 — down from  88,74 /100,000 in September.

Health officials say the drop in hospitalisations and deaths among seniors is due to vaccinations.

So far, just over 1,1 million doses have been administered throughout Switzerland, with nearly 395,000 people having received both shots.

This graph shows how the number of administered vaccines has grown since the inoculation programme was launched in Switzerland at the end of December 2020.

However, despite having ordered 35 million vaccines from four different manufacturers, Switzerland lags behind many nations in Europe when it comes to the number of vaccines administered per 100,000 residents.

European statistics platform Statista shows that with 10.96 inoculations per 100,000, Switzerland is in the 15th place, below the UK (35.9),  Scandinavian countries, some states in Eastern Europe, as well as Spain, Cyprus, Greece, and Malta.

But Switzerland is ahead of its neighbours Austria, France, Italy, and Germany.