Health Minister Alain Berset expects the corona crisis in Switzerland to not end before mid-May. It is wrong to think that the epidemic wave will hit Switzerland, but will then pass and disappear, Berset said in an interview published on Saturday with the newspaper “La Liberté” and its partner newspapers.
Specialists said that the novel corona virus will remain, Berset noted. It was necessary to develop a vaccination. Berset did not rule out a curfew based on the model of Italy or France in the event that the situation should deteriorate.
280 people currently need artificial respiration for Covid 19 disease. Daniel Koch, Head of Communicable Diseases at the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG), said this on Saturday before the Bundeshausmedien. That is 280 people who fought for their lives and hundreds of carers who looked after them. “That is an enormous amount for Switzerland,” said Koch. However, no intensive care unit was fully utilized, and even more sick people could be artificially ventilated. But he very much hoped that the population would continue to be disciplined.
Meanwhile, 20 patients from France are being cared for in Swiss hospitals from Saturday evening. This was announced by Frédéric Journes, the French ambassador to Switzerland in the short message service Twitter. Some of the patients rely on artificial ventilation.
Maurer does not exclude further loans
Economic State Secretary Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch commented on the pre-registrations for short-time work. By Friday evening, 757,000 applications from 59,000 businesses had been submitted. This corresponds to around 15 percent of all employed people in Switzerland.
The corona crisis also has an impact on the unemployment rate. Ineichen-Fleisch said that 13,500 more people were unemployed. Many companies made use of the federal emergency loans: around 16,000 loan agreements had been concluded by Friday evening. She spoke of a “very big rush”.
Finance Minister Ueli Maurer is convinced that small and medium-sized companies can benefit from the federal aid measures. If the crisis is not over in two to three months, but it is clear that more funds are needed, he said in interviews at the weekend. “It is not out of the question that we will have to increase the loan again,” said Maurer on Radio SRF’s “Saturdays broadcast”.
The federal government’s 20 billion franc guarantee was an estimate of the immediate needs of the economy. “Now we’ll see if that works,” said Maurer.
The situation on the border is calm
The situation on the Swiss border is meanwhile calm, according to Christian Bock, Director of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA). Most had gotten used to the new regime, and 27,000 people had been refused entry, an increase of 11,000 cases within a week. In 250 cases, fines of CHF 100 to 300 were distributed. Goods traffic is running normally.
Around 3,000 members of the army remain on duty until at least June 30. Brigadier Raynald Droz said this on Saturday in front of the federal media. Four hospital battalions, eight medical companies and numerous servants of medical teams who support the civil authorities in the fight against the corona virus are affected. It has not yet been decided how long the recruits who are currently undergoing a medical RS will remain in service.
More Swiss come back
More Swiss nationals were also repatriated at the weekend. So far, around 1200 travelers from Switzerland have returned to Switzerland on planes chartered from the EDA Department. The last travelers to date came on Sunday in two planes from Santiago de Chile and from Algiers.
The flight from Chile was the fourth Swiss return flight from Latin America, after flights from Costa Rica, Colombia and Peru, as announced by the outside department. Other Swiss travelers were brought back from Casablanca (Morocco) and Dakar (Senegal). In Peru, a bus convoy picks up stuck passengers from the Andes and takes them to Lima.
More travelers are expected on Tuesday after corona diseases on a German cruise ship off Australia. For the 28 passengers from Switzerland, return flights are organized until Tuesday, as Johannes Matyassy, Director of the Consular Directorate in the EDA Department of Foreign Affairs, said on Saturday before the Bundeshausmedien.