Friday, March 5, 2021

Swiss admit blundering after first Covid wave

Health minister says the Swiss approach put emphasis on personal responsibility but that it did not work.

Other News

Pengerusi BN terus gesa sidang Parlimen ketika darurat

BN menganggap kenyataan Menteri Di Jabatan Perdana Menteri Takiyuddin Hassan semalam mencabar kuasa Agong.

PN masih utuh, kata Bersatu

Bersatu menyatakan penghargaan kepada semua parti komponen Perikatan Nasional yang masih setia dengan gabungan itu.

Bersatu says PN still in charge, views Umno decision seriously

The party says its focus is on the economy and the pandemic, and that it takes a serious view of Umno's decision.

Hanya MySejahtera digunapakai bagi solat Jumaat di Selangor berkuat kuasa esok

Sebarang aplikasi pengimbas selain MySejahtera tidak diterima oleh Jais bagi jemaah yang ingin masuk ke dalam masjid dan surau.

BN chief Zahid repeats call for Dewan Rakyat sitting during emergency

The BN chairman also hits out at PAS' Takiyuddin Hassan for ruling out any parliamentary sitting during the virus emergency.

Switzerland’s health minister admitted Saturday that the government blundered in easing Covid-19 restrictions too far, resulting in some of Europe’s fiercest infection rates during the pandemic’s second wave.

Alain Berset said the Swiss approach put the emphasis on personal responsibility – but accepted that it had not worked.

The virus will not vanish any time soon, he added, despite the rollout of vaccinations.

In March, during the first wave of infections, Switzerland was not hit as hard by Covid-19 deaths and did not impose as strict a lockdown as some other European states. It then eased off its restrictions in stages.

From just three new cases recorded on June 1, infections rose slowly before rocketing in October, when cases, hospitalisations and deaths began doubling from week to week.

Asked about Switzerland’s mistakes, Berset told national broadcaster SRF: “There were some.

“In summer, we had the feeling that the worst was over. We were too loose. And then we were far too optimistic when we thought we could reopen the major events in autumn,” notably football and ice hockey matches.

In early November, Geneva had the worst per capita infection rates in Europe.

With a population of 8.6 million, Switzerland is logging a stubbornly high rate of around 5,000 new cases and 100 deaths a day.

“The Swiss way has a price. It requires personal responsibility, reason and foresight from everyone. If that doesn’t work, we have to tighten the measures. We did that,” Berset said.

“The good thing about the current situation is that we still have reserves.”

Gut instinct

From Tuesday, bars and restaurants began closing again across the country in a bid to rein in the outbreak.

Berset said that in making decisions during the crisis, he ultimately had to rely on “gut feeling”.

“In overcoming a crisis, the worst part is simply not doing anything, getting stuck and submitting to it. For sure, if you make mistakes, you have to correct them as quickly as possible.”

Switzerland started its Covid-19 vaccine rollout on Wednesday, with a care home resident in her 90s receiving the first shot just four days after the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorised.

“This virus won’t be gone anytime soon. It will stay, despite vaccinations and better medication,” Berset said.

“Then there are the consequences of the crisis, which should not be underestimated: economic consequences, social ones.”

As for rebuilding society in the wake of the pandemic, Berset said: “My fear is that we will miss this opportunity.”

He called for the strengthening of international organisations in response to the crisis, notably the Geneva-based World Health Organization (WHO), which has been harshly criticised by outgoing US President Donald Trump.

“Without WHO, everything would be much worse now,” said Berset.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

New cases back over 2,000 but recoveries still ahead

2,063 new cases, 2,922 recoveries.

UK, others agree to fast-track adapted Covid-19 vaccines

The agreement will avert the need for lengthy clinical studies if authorised vaccines are adapted in future, as long as the manufacturers offer 'robust evidence' of their potency and safety.

Ban on full facial coverings to be put to vote in Switzerland

The ban would mean that nobody could cover their face completely in public – whether in shops or the open countryside, although exceptions will be made for places of worship.

Australia extends international flight ban for 3 more months

Anyone hoping to enter Australia will have longer to wait as arrivals are limited to the capacity of mandatory quarantine hotels.

Brazil reports second straight day of record Covid-19 deaths

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro faces sharp criticism for downplaying the new coronavirus, flouting expert advice on containing it with lockdowns and face masks, and over his government's slow pace in vaccinating the population.