“Immediate” extension of the Covid certificate is needed, says Berger






© KEYSTONE/GAETAN BALLY


A rapid extension of the Covid certificate to restaurants, cinemas, theaters and small events is necessary, believes the chairman of the Federal Commission for Vaccinations Christoph Berger. “It is essential. We cannot wait any longer,” he said.

The health system is on the verge of overloading, explains in an interview broadcast on Sunday by the SonntagsZeitung the one who is also co-director of the department of infectious diseases and hospital hygiene at the University Children’s Hospital in Zurich. More severe measures against the fourth wave of the epidemic and “some pressure” on the unvaccinated to encourage them to be vaccinated will prevent more important measures, he adds.

The obligation of the health certificate for professions with close social contacts, such as nursing staff, teachers or catering staff, also deserves to be considered, adds Mr Berger. The Federal Council put a possible extension of the Covid certificate for consultation on Wednesday. He did not specify from when this extension could apply. The majority of cantonal health directors support the proposal.

No compulsory vaccination

Mr. Berger, on the other hand, rejects compulsory vaccination for certain groups. “It would go too far.” However, he believes that it is justified to penalize the unvaccinated. “In a situation where there is a threat of significant damage, such as overloading the health care system, it is legitimate.”

To regain a certain normality, the vaccination rate in Switzerland must be 70 or 80%, as in Spain or Great Britain, he notes. “We must arrive at this order of magnitude – as for the over 70s in Switzerland who are practically no longer hospitalized for Covid-19 – to put an end to the horror of the coronavirus and to be able to treat contamination by the virus as an influenza epidemic “.

5% infected in each wave

The first three waves of the coronavirus for each of them only infected about 5% of the Swiss population, explains epidemiologist Antoine Flahault, interviewed by Le Matin Dimanche. With only 56% of the population vaccinated, “there is still a large pool of unimmunized people today. […] to form a wave of the same magnitude as the previous ones from the start of the school year “.

With the highly contagious Delta variant, “Switzerland is still a country that is still very vulnerable to potential pandemic assaults,” says the director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva.

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