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Covid: time to double down, says Swiss expert

© Michael Müller |

Since reaching a peak in early November 2020, Covid-19 cases in Switzerland have fallen significantly. The 7-day daily average was 8,238 on 8 November 2020. By 8 February 2021, this figure was down by more than 80% at 1,437. However, according to Martin Ackermann, head of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force, now is not the time for Switzerland to relax.

New faster spreading variants mean the headline case numbers are misleading, said Ackermann. The faster spreading UK variant is now well established in Switzerland. And while the number of cases with the old virus are declining, cases with the UK variant are on the rise. The prevalence of this strain has doubled in 10 days. So far it has not been possible to slow the spread of this variant, he said. Dr. Ackermann fears a resurgence like the one seen in Portugal.

Currently, Geneva has the highest number of cases with new variants (UK and South African). Around 60% to 70% of cases there have a new variant. Vaud and Bern also have relatively high numbers. In Zurich and much of the rest of country, new variants make up 30% to 40% of all cases. Epidemiologists think Geneva is one or two weeks ahead of the rest of Switzerland.

Unfortunately, Switzerland has made little vaccination progress. By 7 February 2021, 413,698 doses had been administered, protecting probably less than 4% of the population.

Rather than a relaxation of measures to reduce viral spread, Martin Ackermann is calling for them to be reinforced.

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About Le News
Le News
The newspaper Le News is a free, quality, local English language newspaper launched on 31 October 2013. Le News fills a gap in local Swiss media for the numerous English-speakers living and visiting Switzerland. In late January 2015 we decided to put our print medium on hold and focus on our digital media presence.
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