connect, grow & thrive.

Coronavirus Update – October 15

The second Coronavirus wave is here! Yesterday Switzerland registered 2823 new cases, at the height of the first wave the number was 1530. Obviously people were being tested a lot less back then, but still this resurgence of numbers is cause for concern. The percentage of positivity by tests is now at 13.6% and the R (reproduction rate) is now somewhere between 1.5 and 2.

Canton Schwyz is now a hotspot, with 32.4 cases per 100 000, most of them being traced back to a jodler festival where several of the singers were infected. The Schwyz Hospital published a video on youtube asking people to wear masks, to not attend parties and to keep social distancing as their hospital is quickly filling with acute Covid-19 patients.

The cantons of Jura and Geneva are second and third with the most cases. Zug is ninth with 20.7 cases per 100 000, Lucerne comes in towards the bottom with 8.8 cases per 100 000 (which is a growth of 329% compared to last week).

The number of cases per demographic segment is always changing with older people now also getting infected meaning that more and more people are needing to go to hospital.

Number of cases per 100 000 in the different age groups. (source Luzerner Zeitung)

Indications are that the canton of Lucerne will be implementing the wearing of masks in all stores this coming Saturday, joining Schwyz, Bern, Tessin, Jura, Waadt, Geneva, Basel Stadt, Zürich, Neuenburg, Wallis, Schaffhausen and Solothurn.

Despite all of this and warnings from epidiomoligists that the rules have to be enforced in a much stricter manner, (calling from home officing for example), the government is sticking to its federalistic approach and is not looking at imposing measures on a national level but is talking closely with the cantons to come up with solutions.

Internationally things are not looking much better.

  • France has imposed a curfew in eight of its major cities beginning Friday at midnight.
  • Spain has called for a state of emergency for 15 days in Madrid and is closing bars and restaurants in Catalonia for 15 days.
  • Portugal has called for a state of emergency, limiting gatherings to 5 people, and allow no more than 50 people for weddings and baptisms.
  • The UK has put in place a three tier alarm system with varying measures according to the alarm level.
  • Germany is also acting on a regional level and putting in place stricter measures for areas with more than 35 cases per 100 000.
  • Italy has put in place a mandatory mask rule outdoors as well as indoors.
  • The Netherlands have put in place a partial lockdown for 4 weeks.
  • In Northern Ireland schools will be closed for 2 weeks and restaurants for 4 weeks.
  • In Denmark bars must close early.
  • Greece masks are compulsory on all public transport and indoor spaces.
  • Sweden continues to ban gatherings of more than 50 people and urge anyone over 70 to stay indoors but has not imposed any other restrictions.

For more information on travelling within Europe go to this website.

Charlie Hartmann is the managing director of the Livingin organisation which focuses on helping international residents connect, grow and thrive in Switzerland.