While it had been relatively spared from the pandemic in the spring, Switzerland is caught up by the coronavirus. In a few weeks, the contaminations curve has grown exponentially. On October 8, there were just over 1,000, on October 30, 9 times more. On November 3, we even came close to 22,000 new cases.
The virus hits the French-speaking cantons in particular, where hospital capacity is dangerously close to saturation. The canton of Neuchâtel has an incidence of 314 positive cases per 10,000 inhabitants, “Almost twice as high” that the whole of Switzerland (174 per 10,000 inhabitants), underlines the management of the Neuchâtel Hospital Network (RHNe). In an attempt to cope, the network has freed up capacity in additional beds and personnel which should enable it to accommodate up to 250 Covid patients.
Geneva was, this weekend, the most affected region in Europe in terms of incidence over the last 14 days, according to statistics compiled by public Swiss television. Sunday 1er November, Geneva university hospitals counted 4,764 patients with Covid-19, including 56 in intensive care. The saturation of the hospital system is “Imminent”, according to a government press release. Since 1er November, the inhabitants of the Canton of Geneva are called upon to leave their homes only in cases of strict necessity. Non-essential businesses are closed, including bars and restaurants. However, there is no official travel ban.
Overwhelmed by the virus, the Geneva authorities, like the cantons of Valais, Bern, Vaud and Friborg, obtained the support of the military, who will unload the health systems at the level of ambulances and basic care provided to patients with Covid- 19.
To cope with this second wave, more than 200 reservists – having received four-month health training – entered service this Sunday, November 8 to support hospitals.
During the first wave, in order to relieve the hospitals under strain, the army announced that it could mobilize up to 8,000 soldiers. This time, the government decided to mobilize only up to 2,500 soldiers, subject to the cantons requesting it and if it is demonstrated that the “Civilian resources are exhausted”.