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Covid wrap: Switzerland considering further relaxations as police threaten not to enforce measures

Covid wrap: Switzerland considering further relaxations as police threaten not to enforce measures
Police at a coronavirus sceptic rally in Bern. Photo: STEFAN WERMUTH / AFP
Switzerland is considering a further relaxation of Covid measures in "the next few weeks", as a small group of police have threatened not to enforce the measures.

Current Covid measures, such as the mask requirement, could be lifted or relaxed in a few weeks, Health Minister Alain Berset said in an interview on Sunday.

“If things go well, further relaxation such as a restriction of the mask requirement will be possible in a few weeks”, Berset said. 

“In Switzerland there should be no more closings. We will do everything we can to achieve this.”

This would only happen, however, if the epidemiological situation doesn’t worsen, Berset noted.

He also added that there are no plans at the moment to mandate the use of the health pass for activities beyond those that require it now — that is, large events of more than 1,000 people, nightclubs or discos.

READ MORE: How is Switzerland using Covid certificates compared to elsewhere in Europe?

The announcement came after members of several Swiss police forces are threatening to no longer enforce coronavirus rules if these measures are contrary to what the public wants.

A group calling itself the ‘Association of Police Officers from the Cantons of Switzerland’ said there is a need to express your own opinion when it comes to the measures. 

The anonymous creators of the renegade group sent a four-page letter to the Swiss Federation of Police Officers (FSFP), criticising Switzerland’s anti-corona regulations and threatening insubordination “if the measures were to oppose the general opinion of the population, restricting their fundamental rights disproportionately, many police officers will no longer be willing to apply them”.

Adrian Gaugler of the Conference of Cantonal Police Commanders said that while police officers are free to have their own opinions, “an officer who refuses to apply a law in force will be sanctioned”.

“They are at the service of the population and responsible for its protection and security. But they are also under the orders of their employers, the police forces.”

In thanking police officers, Gaugler said the group was only relatively small and that the vast majority of police officers would continue to do their jobs. 

Hospitalisations and deaths remain low

Despite a spike in coronavirus infections — daily numbers have exceeded the 1,000-mark in the past week — the rate of Covid-related hospitalisations and deaths has remained relatively low.

Figures released in early August show that low hospitalisation and death rates are a consequence of vaccination. 

Of the 4,199,690 people who have been fully vaccinated in Switzerland, 460 are confirmed to have caught the coronavirus since January of 2021. 

As a percentage, that is 0.01 percent of all of those who have had the jab. 

In total, there have been 96 hospitalisations out of 4,199,690 vaccinated people. This works out to 0.002 percent. 

Of those who have been hospitalised, one was in their 30s, four in their 40s, 11 in their 50s, nine in their 60s, 21 in their 70s and 50 over the age of 80. 

Of the total number of people who have been vaccinated fully since Switzerland’s vaccination campaign began in late 2020, there have been 19 deaths. 

This works out to 0.0005 of those who have been fully vaccinated. 

One of those who died was in their 50s, while the remaining 18 were above the age of 80. 

Therefore, while the vaccines are not 100 percent effective in preventing catching the virus, being hospitalised and dying, the statistical possibility is remarkably low. 


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