Covid-19: Is Switzerland’s 10-day quarantine really long enough?

Covid-19: Is Switzerland’s 10-day quarantine really long enough?
A 10-day quarantine is sufficient to curb the transmission of coronavirus, Swiss doctors say. Photo by AFP
While most countries have implemented a 14-day quarantine, in Switzerland its duration is only 10 days. But is a shorter period sufficient and effective in stopping the spread of Covid-19?

According to Neuchâtel’s cantonal doctor Claude-François Robert, it is important to find a compromise between the effectiveness of the quarantine in curbing the infections and the social constraints it imposes.

“You have to take into account the limitations to private and professional life that the quarantine represents”, Robert said in an interview with RTS television.

“In our experience, ten days is acceptable”, he added.

Robert explained that the efficacy of quarantines is measured by the number of secondary and tertiary infections which occur after people have been isolated — in other words, whether the chain of contaminations continues or not.

“For the moment, no tertiary cases have been observed, which means that the quarantine measures are effective”, he said.

Currently 2,897 people are under a 10-day quarantine order in Switzerland, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

READ MORE: Switzerland: 280 forced into isolation after alleged 'coronavirus superspreader attends party'

Most have been found to be exposed to the virus through contacts with an infected person.

Others are travellers who have returned to Switzerland from countries considered by the Swiss government to be unsafe due to the high number of Covid-19 cases. 

Since July 6th, they are required to self-quarantine as a precaution, or face a possible fine of up to 10,000 francs.

The only people exempted from the quarantine rule are healthcare workers, as there is staff shortage in some Swiss hospitals.

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