Civil protection is also used in the second wave of coronavirus. At its meeting on Wednesday, the Federal Council decided to give the cantons a maximum of 500,000 working days to cope with the crisis.
The Federal Department of Defense, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS) announced on Wednesday that more and more institutions in the health care system have asked civil protection in their cantons for support. Given the spread of the pandemic, many facilities threatened to reach their capacity limits.
Request for a national contingent
The cantons have therefore come to the federal government with a request for a national civil defense force. This is because the Federal Council can call up people obliged to provide protection in the event of disasters and emergencies that affect several cantons or all of Switzerland.
In such a crisis, civil defense is a “crucial and indispensable instrument”, it said. Because he can relieve the nursing staff affected by corona cases and increase contact tracing and testing.
But civilian guards could also provide important help with transports, setting up and operating reception points in hospitals, supporting the crisis teams or operating hotlines. Through the national contingent, the resources available throughout Switzerland could be exhausted and distributed among the cantons.
Cantons decide for themselves
The cantons themselves decide on a contingent and deployments depending on requirements and necessity. The civilian guards were only allowed to be deployed if other means were insufficient or the deployment was urgent, it said.
The federal government compensates the cantons with CHF 27.50 per working day. The Federal Council estimates the costs at a maximum of CHF 13.75 million. The duration of the assignment was set from Wednesday (November 18th) until March 31st.
During the first wave of the pandemic in the spring, the Federal Council provided the cantons with a contingent of civil protection. Around 24,000 civil defense members served around 300,000 days of service in all 26 cantons from mid-February to the end of June. In April, at the height of the operation, around 5000 members of the civil defense were on duty every week.
Embassy on army deployment adopted
At the same time, the Federal Council adopted the message on the army assistance service in the Corona crisis, as the DDPS further announced. The government decided at the beginning of November to support the health system with up to 2,500 military personnel.
The cost of the deployment is not yet known. The additional service days could probably be absorbed within the VBS budget, it said. Otherwise the DDPS would have to apply for a supplementary credit.
Because the number of soldiers exceeds 2,000 and lasts longer than three weeks, the Federal Assembly has to approve the deployment. Parliament will decide on the assistance service in the winter session, it said.