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

'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
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.

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.

FOPH

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.

FOPH

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. 


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