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Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday
Swiss hospitals are ready to accept French patients. Photo by JEAN-PHILIPPE KSIAZEK / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Switzerland among nations targeted by fraudulent vaccine offers

Criminals are offering Swiss and European health officials large quantities of Covid vaccines at exorbitant prices, by promising to negotiate contracts between pharmaceutical companies and public authorities.

“This is a scam: contracts are never honored”, Claire Georges, a spokesperson for the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol), told Switzerland’s public broadcaster RTS.

To date, no Swiss canton has fallen for the multi-million-franc scam.

“We assume that if someone accepts these offers, sellers will disappear once the money is paid and no vaccine is going to be delivered”, said Nicolas Fotinis from Switzerland’s drug verificaton agency, Swissmedic.

READ MORE: How to avoid the most common online scams in Switzerland

France asks Switzerland to take in Covid-19 patients

France’s Bourgogne-Franche Comté region, which is experiencing an increase in the number of coronavirus cases, has asked French-speaking cantons to accept critical patients in case local hospitals become saturated.

In response, health ministers of Jura and Fribourg said  their cantons will take in French Covid patients in the event hospitals across the border become overcrowded, and provided there is sufficient space in intensive care units.

At the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, Swiss hospitals had already taken in 30 coronavirus patients from France, especially from Franche-Comté and Grand Est regions, whose medical facilities were saturated. 

Third Covid wave affects younger people

The age of patients hospitalised with coronavirus has been falling for several weeks, according to an analysis by RTS public broadcaster based on figures from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

The proportion of patients over the age 80, who made up more than a third of patients during the second wave, has been dropping since mid-February, RTS found.

Patients between 60 and 69 now represent the highest proportion of new hospital admissions: around 25 percent, compared to 18 percent this winter. There are also more hospitalisations among people aged 30 to 59.

This trend could be explained by the fact that older groups were the first to be vaccinated, so they have developed immunity to the virus. On the other hand, younger people who have not yet had their shots, are exposed to the more contagious British variant, which now represents 90 percent of all cases in Switzerland, FOPH said.  

Optimism for Switzerland’s post-pandemic recovery

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a 3.5-percent rebound in Switzerland’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2021.

It said Switzerland’s economy absorbed the shock of the pandemic better than other European countries, as its GDP fell to only 2.9 percent in 2020.

“Switzerland has navigated the Covid-19 pandemic well”, said IMF assistant director Mark Horton.

He added that Switzerland’s “early, strong, and sustained public health and economic policy response has helped contain the contraction of activity relative to other European countries”.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local please get in touch with us at [email protected]


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