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IN NUMBERS: Which Swiss cantons have most Omicron cases?

Positivity rate for Omicron variant is growing fastest in three Swiss cantons. Photo by Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) on Unsplash
The positivity rate for the Omicron variant is growing fastest in three Swiss cantons. Photo: Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash)/Unsplash
The new variant is spreading like wildfire across Switzerland and is especially prevalent in three cantons.

While the Delta mutation is still dominant in Switzerland, with 85.3 percent of cases attributed to this strain until December 23rd – the date when latest figures from the Federal Office of Public Health came out – Omicron is expected to become the majority strain by the beginning of 2022.

This newest variant accounted for 14.7 percent of all infections nationally on December 23rd, but three cantons – Ticino, Zurich and Geneva – are exceeding this rate by far.

In Ticino, Omicron was detected in 51 percent of the cases tested by the cantonal laboratory, Eolab.

On a daily level, however, the highest figure was reached on December 22nd, with 85 percent of positive cases confirmed as the Omicron variant.

Due to the soaring number of new infections attributed to Omicron, stricter rules have been in effect in Ticino since Thursday.

With the exception of those who have been boosted, everyone who has had contact with Covid patients must be in quarantine, even if they are fully inoculated, according to chief cantonal doctor Giorgio doctor Merlani, who said there is “proof of Omicron’s ability to infect people who have been vaccinated”.

In Geneva, the Omicron variant represents 30 percent of positive cases – fewer than in Ticino, but a number that is nevertheless higher than the national rate.

In Zurich, 25 percent of cases are attributed to Omicron, but the rate in that canton is expected to reach the levels of Geneva and Ticino soon, according to Urs Karrer, vice-president of the Covid-19 Task Force.

He said the variant will be responsible for the vast majority of cases in these three cantons and elsewhere in the country within a couple of weeks.

Unlike Ticino, Geneva and Zurich have not announced stricter rules other than those already in place nationally to counteract the rapid spread of Omicron. These are the measures that currently apply throughout Switzerland:

No data is collected during the holidays, so we may not know the real number of new Omicron-related contaminations in those cantons, as well as in rest of Switzerland, until the first week of January.

With Omicron on its way to becoming a dominant variant in Switzerland, however, “a number of cases exceeding 20,000 per day by the second week of January is a plausible scenario”, according to the latest analysis of the country’s epidemiological evolution by the Covid-19 Task Force.

READ MORE: ‘20,000 cases per day’ – experts draw Covid forecast for Switzerland


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