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VACCINES

Switzerland announces timeline to end all Covid restrictions

Swiss authorities indicated that lifting of Covid-19 restrictions in the summer is a possibility, with all measures dropped by August. This is how it could be done.

Switzerland announces timeline to end all Covid restrictions
No masks and no social distance. Could this happen in the summer? Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unspalsh

This best-case scenario is based on the vaccine strategy, which the government says is achievable and under control.

Health Minister Alain Berset said at a press conference on Wednesday that Switzerland will receive 8.1 million doses of the already ordered vaccines from Pfizer / Biontech and Moderna between now and the end of July.

Nearly half a million residents have received both doses to date, and more will be vaccinated in the meantime with the doses already in stock.

That would mean 75 percent of the adult population will be immunised, Berset said.

READ MORE: Switzerland to introduce coronavirus a vaccine certificate ‘by summer’

All vulnerable people should be vaccinated by April 20th, and most others will have received their second shot by the end of June, authorities say.

“We have a good situation. Six months ago no one would have thought that the vaccination campaign would be so advanced”, Berset noted in an interview with SRF public broadcaster.

Virginie Masserey, head of the infection control section at the Federal Office of Public Health, said at the press conference on Wednesday that if no new virus mutations emerge in the meantime, “from August there will be enough people vaccinated so that the restrictive measures are no longer necessary”.

Keen for a vax? This tool shows when you will get vaccinated in Switzerland

Berset also said coronavirus measures could be dropped in the summer. “The goal is to go in the direction of normality,” he noted.

However, some believe authorities are being overly optimistic in their predictions.

“The problem is that large deliveries could come all at once in the summer. I doubt that the cantons will be able to cope with these quantities immediately”, said National Councillor Marcel Dobler.

Another deputy, Jörg Mäder, pointed out that it is difficult to predict whether things will return to normal in summer. “But thanks to the vaccination, this goal is within reach”.

READ MORE : Covid-19 third wave: Which countries in Europe have the tightest restrictions?

Member comments

  1. Calling this vaccine situation “advanced” must be lost in translation. The goal keeps moving farther out into the future. Compared to other parts of the globe, this is …

  2. I do not see why they do not approve AstraZenca vaccine with the stunning results in the UK and USA trials with most of Europe doing a U turn is it arrogance?

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COVID-19

‘Over a million people’ in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

Though Covid has not been a nationwide problem in Switzerland during recent several months, the virus is circulating again and rates of contamination are expected to soar in the coming weeks.

'Over a million people' in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

While the new wave has not been expected to hit before fall or winter,  Swiss health officials now say 15 percent of Swiss population — more than 1 million people — could catch the virus before then.

This is a large number, considering that a total of 3.7 million people in Switzerland got infected since the beginning of the pandemic on February 24th, 2020.

“More than 80,000 new contaminations per week” are expected in the next two months, according to Tanja Stadler, the former head of the Covid-19 Task Force — much more than during the past two summers, when the rate of infections slowed down.

At the moment, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) reports 24,704 new cases in the past seven days — double of what it was in April.

“The numbers are expected to continue to rise. Note that most of infected people will not be tested, so the number of confirmed cases will be smaller on paper than in reality”, Stadler added.

Although according to FOPH, nearly all cases in Switzerland (99 percent) are caused by Omicron and its sub-variants, which are less severe that the original Covid viruses, “more vulnerable people are likely to end up in hospital, and long Covid cases are also likely to rise”, she said.

Stadler also noted that Omicron virus can’t be compared with the flu, “because we observe long-term consequences much more often during an infection with Omicron than during the flu. Also, Covid can trigger very large waves, even in summer, while large flu outbreaks are rare at this time of year”.

There is, however, some positive news.

“The most recent data shows that 97 percent of the adult population in Switzerland has antibodies against Covid thanks to vaccinations and previous infections”, Stadler said.

Also, “in the long term, things will stabilise. But in the years to come, there will probably be waves in the summer too”.

READ MORE: UPDATE: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

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