The coronavirus epidemic continued to spread in Switzerland on Thursday, contaminating nearly 200 more people and killing two more. Different scenarios on the next measures that Bern will take Friday circulated in the press.
“The wave has now arrived,” said Daniel Koch, head of the communicable diseases division of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on Thursday morning on German radio. According to him, the measures taken on the scale of Ticino will probably be extended to the whole of Switzerland.
A certain hesitation reigned at midday on Thursday while the FOPH carried out a sort of coaster after the declarations of Daniel Koch in the morning. According to the office, there was no national emergency on Thursday, even if Switzerland remains in a “special” situation.
Different scenarios circulated in the press while awaiting the possible new measures that the Federal Council should announce on Friday. One of them mentions the possibility of lowering the bar of authorized demonstrations from 1000 people to 300.
Two new deaths in Ticino
Two new people, aged over 80 and already suffering from other illnesses, have died from coronavirus in the past 24 hours in Ticino. This brings the number of victims in Switzerland to six.
The president of the Locarno Film Festival, Marco Solari, tested positive for coronavirus. He was hospitalized at La Carità regional hospital in Locarno (TI), the festival was told by Keystone-ATS. His condition is considered stable.
According to the FOPH, the number of Covid-19 cases continues to increase rapidly. The current results show 858 positive tests, with an increase of nearly 200 cases in 24 hours.
So far, cases have been reported in 23 of the 26 Swiss cantons. The canton of Ticino (167/3) remains the most affected, followed by Vaud (151/5), Zurich (90/1) and Geneva (76).
In Ticino, after the state of necessity decreed on Wednesday, the hearings of all the courts are now held behind closed doors. PostBus no longer serves the section between Iselle (I) and Domodossola (I) with immediate effect and until further notice. The BLS railway company will limit the loading of wagons on the Simplon between Brig VS and Iselle (I) from Saturday.
On the army side, nearly 830 recruits will remain in barracks this weekend to avoid reinforcing the epidemic. “Every day we assess the situation, it is part of our core competences. For now, we are staying with the measures already taken. But everything can change very quickly: the situation is very volatile,” said Stefan Hofer, Army spokesperson at Keystone-ATS.
The UCD is more alarmist. Worried about the growing power of the epidemic, the party calls for an immediate closure of the borders for people while allowing goods to pass through.
The party makes an exception for cross-border workers working in the health sector, who should settle down in Switzerland for a few weeks. She also asks emergency and military hospitals to be ready.
Hospitals are getting ready
In the canton of Vaud, CHUV employees in Lausanne must cancel their planned vacation until the end of April. The University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG) ask their staff the same thing.
Thursday late afternoon, 17 people were hospitalized for coronavirus at HUG. Among them, four require intensive care.
In Neuchâtel, the cantonal hospital postpones elective surgery from Friday until further notice. In Zurich, visiting a loved one at the University Hospital is, with exceptions, no longer possible since Thursday evening.
After the United States, various eastern European states in turn prohibit foreign nationals, including Swiss nationals, from entering their country. This is particularly the case for the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Switzerland is part, in their eyes, of twelve countries considered “at risk” with China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain, Austria, Sweden, Norway, the Countries – Low, Belgium and Denmark.
Israel and Malta have already closed their borders to the Swiss. The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) is assessing the consequences of the American ban that fell on the night of Wednesday to Thursday. At the same time, four Swiss people stranded on a cruise ship off San Francisco were repatriated.
In the canton of Vaud, telework is now widespread in administration. At the Federal Palace in Bern, the press center limits the number of journalists who can access the press room. Several cantons cancel school camps and school races until further notice and favor online education in universities.