Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 16 Dec, 2021 Updated Thu 16 Dec 2021 07:48 CEST
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A protester holds up a banner reading in German 'freedom is unvaccinable' during a rally in opposition with the current measures to tackle the spread of the coronavirus, Covid-19 health pass and vaccination, in Bern on October 23, 2021. - On November 28, 2021, Swiss will vote on challenging the law underpinning many of the government’s coronavirus measures. The country’s vaccination rate is lower than in many other European nations. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.


Switzerland among countries with highest rate of Covid infections

Switzerland is currently the fifth country in the world with the highest seven-day incidence of new coronavirus cases, according to Our World in Data figures collected by Swiss media.

In Switzerland, the seven-day incidence per 100,000 inhabitants stood at 746.2 on December 14th. It is just behind Slovakia (944 /100,000), Denmark (853,3), Czech Republic (817,5) and Belgium (769,7).

Most of Switzerland’s neighbours Germany, Austria, Italy, and  France have half or fewer cases per 100,000.

READ MORE: Switzerland to announce lockdown decision on Friday

Increase in vaccinated patients in Swiss ICUs

The number of immunised Covid patients hospitalised in the intensive care unit of the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) has risen in the past three weeks.

Beds are currently occupied by coronavirus patients ranging in age from 31 to 72 years old, according to Jérôme Pugin, head of the HUG’s intensive care unit.

There are two kinds of vaccinated people who have ended up at the ICU, Pugin said.

“One group is relatively young and unvaccinated and the other is relatively old, vaccinated but immunosuppressed, that is, more risk of catching infectious diseases”, Pugin said in an interview with Tribune de Genève.

Among the older group, “we are dealing with people who were vaccinated at the beginning of the year, so the vaccine efficacy has decreased”, he said.

Currently, 45 percent of Geneva's ICUs are vaccinated and 55 percent are not. As at December 16th, 67.3 percent of Geneva residents are fully vaccinated, while 11.35 percent have also had their booster. 

READ MORE: How many vaccinated and unvaccinated people have died from Covid in Switzerland?


Criteria specified for patient transfer

Switzerland has guidelines in place relating to triage of Covid patients if ICUs are full.

But what about transfer of critically ill patients to other medical facilities?

Hospital networks can transfer patients if at least 85 percent of their intensive care beds are full. And coronavirus victims must occupy at least half of these beds.

These criteria appear in the details provided by the Coordinated Health Service, the Conference of Health Directors, as well as the Swiss Society of Intensive Medicine and are to be applied from December 14.

READ MORE: Should vaccinated people have triage priority in Swiss hospitals?

Swiss anti-vax ‘extremists’: few but dangerous

Although the anti-vaccination movement in Switzerland is less developed than in neighbouring Germany, those active in Swiss circles pose a threat to public order, according to a security expert.

“We note this tendency to monothematic extremism, a very small fringe of the population which is radicalised in relation to a cause and which takes up a whole series of conspiratorial speeches and is ready to go as far as violence”, National Security Network’s André Duvillard told broadcaster RTS in an interview.

Even though there are relatively few radical anti-vaxxers in Switzerland, Duvillard urges vigilance.

"What we have experienced is the surge of hateful messages. It is a first step which has been taken in the direction of violence”, he said


Should Swiss ‘nature musician’ pay a fine?

Alphorn player Jonas Scheidegger is making news because he was fined 171 francs for performing "Smoke on the Water" in a nature reserve.

The 22-year-old played the song by the group Deep Purple on his alphorn in a Jura nature reserve and was immediately slapped with a fine for not complying with a noise ordinance.

“The ban is based on the principle that nature reserves are islands of biodiversity in which nature must take precedence over humans”, Jura’s environmental department explained.

Scheidegger noted he was not aware that he was breaking the law and said he is appealing the fine, which can be converted into one day behind bars.



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]




Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2021/12/16 07:48

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