Tag Archive: Health

Italy set to reopen borders with Switzerland from 3 June 2020

Italy is preparing to reopen its borders with the rest of Europe, according to the newspaper La Repubblica. A draft law on new rules was published on 15 May 2020 by the Italian Council of Ministers. It provides for the possibility of allowing entry to Italy from 3 June 2020 without requiring those arriving from certain countries to quarantine for 14 days. The countries include EU nations and Schengen members, including Switzerland and Monaco.

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Minister calls for extra funds for Swiss unemployment system

Economics Minister Guy Parmelin says it is crucial to end the lockdown and prevent a collapse of the unemployment scheme to ensure Switzerland’s economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis. Parmelin said the government would decide on an injection of additional funds into the state unemployment scheme at one of its next meetings.

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Swiss government reveals more on Covid-19 tracing app

On 13 May 2020, Switzerland’s government published more information on the Swiss Proximity Tracing App (Swiss PT), an app designed to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Developed by teams at EPFL and ETHZ, the app uses Bluetooth to detect when your phone comes within two metres of another phone or device with the app. It then records the contact as an anonymous key and the duration of contact, flagging any close contact longer than 15 minutes.

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Coronavirus: the dangers of singing

As Switzerland reopens, the details around how SARS-CoV-2 spreads becomes more relevant to everyday life. Matthias Egger, the head of Switzerland’s Covid-19 task force, stresses the importance of continuing to follow social distancing and hygiene rules.

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Finance minister Ueli Maurer eyes central bank surplus to reduce expected debts

Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer wants the country’s central bank to contribute to the reduction of the debt caused by the coronavirus pandemic. “I suggest the Swiss National Bank spends the money from an annual surplus to reduce coronavirus-related debts,” he told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper on Wednesday.

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Coronavirus: relatively few medical staff infected in Switzerland

In Switzerland, around 3% of medical staff have been infected with Covid-19, based on data covering the period up until Easter, according to Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health.

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Coronavirus: Swiss schools and other establishments set to reopen

On 29 April 2020, Switzerland’s government announced plans to allow schools and other establishments to reopen on Monday 11 May 2020. From 11 May 2020, shops, restaurants, markets, museums, libraries, primary and lower secondary schools and sports training centres will be allowed to reopen. In addition, public transport will operate according to the standard timetable, announced the government.

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Coronavirus: 5.5 percent of Geneva might be infected, according to antibody study

A study done by researchers at Geneva’s HUG hospital suggests a Covid-19 infection rate of 5.5% across the canton of Geneva. Antibody blood tests, run on a randomly selected sample of the canton’s population, suggest around 27,000 might have been infected by the virus, a number 5.7 times the official count of 4,733 recorded on 24 April 2020.

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Coronavirus: predicting post-lockdown Switzerland with positivity

As Switzerland moves towards easing Covid-19 social restrictions, some fear the virus will get away again. A key part of containing the spread is testing. One way to evaluate how comprehensive testing is is to look at positivity, the percentage of tests that are positive. 

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Coronavirus: the age difference behind lower Swiss death rate

Switzerland’s Covid-19 death rate has been lower than much of the rest of Europe. A lower infection rate among older people appears to be one reason. The rates of deaths among those either recovering or dying have been particularly high in Belgium (40%), France (34%) and Italy (31%).

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Coronavirus: numbers in Switzerland slow further

By 14 April 2020, a total 25,936 cases of Covid-19 infection had been recorded in Switzerland, a rise of 3,683 over the preceding 7 days. However, despite the continued rise in cases there are indications measures to slowdown the spread of the virus are working.

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Covid-19 therapy could come by end of year, vaccine in 2021

Swiss pharma and business insiders predict that an effective drug therapy against Covid-19 will be available by the end of this year, but a vaccine might take a year longer than that. “In the best-case scenario, a drug could be available before the end of 2020,” said on Monday Francesco De Rubertis, director and co-founder of Medicxi, a Geneva-based venture capital company that invests in biotechnology.

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Coronavirus: new infections slowing in Switzerland

The number of new recorded Covid-19 cases is slowing in Switzerland. By 8 April 2020 the total number of recorded cases was 23,574 according to Switzerland’s health authority.

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Coronavirus: loss of smell indicates “very high likelihood” of infection

While there is currently no scientifically proven link between anosmia (loss of smell) and Covid-19, more and more experts are saying the symptom is a strong indicator. Gilbert Greub, head of the microbiology department at the CHUV hospital in Lausanne, is one such expert. “Given the widespread Covid-19 epidemic, I think that everyone who has a problem tasting or a problem smelling has a very high likelihood of testing positive and should be tested.

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Coronavirus: deciding who gets a ventilator

By 31 March 2020, there were around 326 Covid-19 patients in intensive care and 228 on ventilators in Switzerland. It is estimated that there are around 750 ventilators across the country. If the health system reaches overload, medical professionals in Switzerland might be forced to make the kinds of difficult decisions being made in neighbouring France and Italy.

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Coronavirus: Swiss test rate now higher than South Korea’s

This morning, Switzerland’s federal government announced the number of Covid-19 tests conducted so far in Switzerland. South Korea, a nation often cited among those with high test rates, now trails Switzerland on the number per capita tests it has conducted.

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Coronavirus: the fallibility of fatality rates

Naturally, many of us would like to know the fatality rate of Covid-19. But at this stage it is guesswork. Here are some of the problems with two of the most popular fatality rates. The most popular calculation involves dividing the number deaths by the number of cases. Epidemiologists call this a naive case fatality rate (CFR). There are two ways to calculate this rate.

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Coronavirus: a test to see if you’ve had it is in the pipeline

Coronavirus testing has been rationed in Switzerland, reserving it for high risk more severe cases, although doctors retain discretion to have anyone tested. It is likely those that have been infected and have recovered will have immunity and no longer be able to act as carriers of the disease.

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Global curbs on medical exports imperil poor nations

Around 50 countries have introduced curbs on exports of medical supplies, including ventilators. This poses a major risk for poor countries, a Swiss study has revealed. The past fortnight has seen nations around the world scrambling for medical supplies and equipment to combat the fast-spreading coronavirus.

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Coronavirus: infection rates in some Swiss cantons now higher than Lombardy

Lombardy, the region in northern Italy where the coronavirus outbreak first took off in Europe, now has fewer per capita cases testing positive for the virus than some Swiss cantons. Recent data from Italy show there were 179 cases per 100,000 in Lombardy. In Ticino, Switzerland’s worst affected canton, there were 329 cases per 100,000. Geneva (231) and Vaud (211) had Switzerland’s next highest rates.

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