Swiss Health Minister accused of hiding crucial coronavirus information

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 15 Feb, 2021 Updated Mon 15 Feb 2021 14:54 CEST
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Switzerland's Health Minister Alain Berset allegedly concealed an alarming report issued last August about the spread of Covid-19 in Switzerland.

The report that the Health Minister, Alain Berset, allegedly hid from his colleagues, was a document from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), calling for the tightening of coronavirus measures to avoid a second wave.

FOPH issued a 12-page document on August 6th, urging the Federal Council to implement a slew of restrictions, Swiss media reports. Among the measures FOPH recommended was the obligatory wearing of masks and the closing of restaurants.

EXPLAINED: How Switzerland could end the coronavirus shutdown 

Berset was expected to forward this report to the Federal Council, which he allegedly didn’t do, even though FOPH experts stressed that the restrictions had to be implemented urgently.

Kept in the dark, the Federal Council announced the relaxation of certain measures, allowing, for instance, large gatherings from October 1st.

Berset himself reportedly urged the Federal Council to loosen the restrictions "after realising that he would not have had a consensus for a longer ban," the media said.

University of Bern’s epidemiologist Christian Althaus said one of the main reasons for the second wave that hit Switzerland in September, was that federal authorities eased the measures in August instead of ordering stricter rules as recommended by FOPH.

“This allowed the virus to spread across the country. Contact tracing quickly reached its limits, which probably contributed to the rapid rise of the pandemic", he said.

Once the second wave of outbreaks struck, daily coronavirus cases recorded in Switzerland soared dramatically, almost tripling the highest number of infections registered during the peak of the pandemic in April. 

And soon intensive care units in Swiss hospitals became saturated with Covid patients.

Berset has not yet responded to the allegations.

READ MORE: Swiss coronavirus situation 'deteriorating': Health Minister Berset 

 

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