Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.
One thousand Covid cases a day expected in Switzerland within days
As the number of new infections reached 707 on Tuesday, heath experts predict that cases will continue to soar in the coming days.
“The cases are doubling every week. The threshold of one thousand contaminations per day will be reached at the beginning of next week at the latest", said Patrick Mathys, head of the crisis management section at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) at the press conference on Tuesday.
However, the number of coronavirus-related deaths and hospitalisatons remains low, and so far the government doesn’t plan to tighten any measures or implement new restrictions.
Meanwhile…spike in cases may alter testing requirements
The higher the number of infections in the population, the greater the risk of a person having a false negative result, especially with an antigen test. These people will be going to events and contaminating others, according to Samia Hurst, vice-president of the Covid-19 Task Force.
One way to reduce this risk is to require a PCR (rather than antigen) test in order to obtain a Covid certificate, or not to issue any more certificates at all to the tested people, FOPH’s Mathys said.
“Giving these people the pass knowing that they are potentially contagious is a known risk and was a political choice", he pointed out.
Instead, the document could become a "certificate of immunity", reserved only for the vaccinated and cured.
No plans to change travel quarantine rules
The rising number of infections, most of which are due to the highly contagious Delta variant, are not prompting the government to modify quarantine requirements for travellers to Switzerland.
Right now, only unvaccinated arrivals from high-variant countries (VOC) like the UK, India, and Nepal must quarantine when entering Switzerland.
According to 20 Minutes news portal, Health Minister Alain Berset had recently ruled out adding more VOC countries, such as Portugal and Russia, to the list, justifying it by the fact that Switzerland —where over 77 percent of cases are caused by the Delta mutation — has joined the ranks of these nations.
After the floods, Switzerland could be confronted with droughts
The intensity and duration of torrential rains last week are closely linked to global climate change, according to Klaus Lanz, director of the independent research institute International Water Affairs and adviser to the Swiss government.
“Man-made climate change is dramatically altering the water cycle”, he said.
While more frequent and severe flooding has been observed in past decades, water levels in summer and autumn are generally declining — both in rivers and lakes.
"Droughts are getting longer and more pronounced. The fact that the water is now flowing freely will not stop the next dry spell, as we can’t store this water”, Lanz added.
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