SHARE
COPY LINK
Paywall free

COVID-19

VIDEO: Five key questions about the coronavirus answered

The coronavirus is spreading around Europe and the world, but what do we actually know about the virus so far and what are the best steps to take to avoid catching it? Watch The Local's free video by Alex Dunham.

VIDEO: Five key questions about the coronavirus answered
 
Hello,
 
The Local's mission is to give our readers the information they need to navigate their lives in new countries. We rely on paying members to do that, but we have chosen not to put any of our articles about the coronavirus behind our hard paywall, to help the public and counter the spread of misinformation. We believe it is the right thing to do.
 
This means that new or occasional readers can read articles for free. We are also dropping the paywall completely on any articles containing advice or need-to-know information. That includes this article as well as lots of other content.
 
We have had a few questions from readers this week if there is a way you can donate to The Local to support our work.
 
The best way is simply to sign up for membership via the blue “Become a Member” button at the top of the page. If you wish you can cancel at a later date. It's easy to do. 
 
We hope our paying members understand why we have chosen to make these articles about the coronavirus free for everyone, but if you have any questions, please let me know.
 
 
All the best,
Emma
Deputy Managing Editor, The Local 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

COVID-19

OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

After several months of a relatively low number of coronavirus cases in Switzerland, the rate of infections rose by over 22 percent in a span of seven days this week. What measures are Swiss health officials planning to prevent a new wave?

OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

The Swiss government has said that “further waves of infections are to be expected in the fall/winter of 2022/2023″.

As in previous waves, “the main objective of managing the pandemic is to prevent an overload of the health system. It is currently difficult to predict the magnitude of the waves of infection and, therefore, the burden on the healthcare system”, it added.

According to current estimates, “it can be assumed that ordinary structures will be sufficient to manage the situation”.

However, unless new, deadly variants emerge in the near future, health officials  expect the new wave to be milder than the ones  that struck in the winter of 2020 and 2021.

There are several reasons for this optimism:

Higher immunity

Due to vaccinations and infections, “it is estimated that 97 percent of the Swiss population has been in contact with the virus”, which means that “immunity within the population is currently high”, authorities said.

Lighter course

This means that unlike the early Covid strains like Alpha and Delta, which were highly virulent, the latest dominant mutation — Omicron and its subvariants — while highly contagious, are also less dangerous for most people.

New vaccines

The new version of the Moderna vaccine, which should better target certain sub-variants of Omicron, will be rolled in Switzerland from October 10th.

Compared to the original vaccine, which was effective mostly against early strains and offered no protection against Omicron, “the new vaccine produces a stronger immune response against the Omicron variants BA.1 and BA.4/5″, according to the drug regulatory body, Swissmedic.

READ MORE: BREAKING: Switzerland approves new Covid-19 boosters

Is the government planning any specific measures this winter?

While the severity of the new wave is not yet known, authorities have made several ‘just-in-case’ provisions by, for instance, extending the Covid-19 law until June 2024.

This legislation, which was approved in a referendum in November 2021, allows the Federal Council to maintain and apply emergency measures that are necessary to manage the pandemic. Without the extension, ithe law would lapse in December of this year.

READ MORE: Covid-19 law: How Switzerland reacted to the referendum results

“No one wants to reactivate the Covid law. But after two years of the pandemic, we have understood that we must be ready”, said MP Mattea Meyer.

While no mask mandates or other restrictions are being discussed at this time, the re-activated legislation would allow the authorities to quickly introduce any measures they deem necessary, according to the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

More preparations from the cantons

As it would be up to the cantons to apply measures set by the federal government, some have asked that financing be made available in case regional hospitals have to again accommodate patients from other cantons.

They are also making sure enough intensive care beds are ready for Covid patients.

What about the Covid certificate and tracing?

Though it is no longer used in Switzerland, the certificate continues to be required abroad.

The government will ensure its international compatibility.

The legal basis for the SwissCovid tracking app will also remain in force and can be reactivated during the winter of 2023/2024, if necessary.

MPs are also debating possible rules to be enforced for cross-border workers in the event of border closures.

SHOW COMMENTS