Interviewed on Swiss radio, Matthias Egger, the head of Switzerland’s Covid-19 task force, described the risk of a second as real, according to RTS.
Switzerland’s population must continue with social distancing and hygiene, said Egger.
Next Monday 11 May a number of establishments will be allowed to open, including schools, retailers and restaurants. All must follow strict social distancing and hygiene rules.
According to Egger, it is important to keep the rate of reproduction below 1, meaning the number of secondary infections from an infectious person is less than one person on average. “The Swiss population must continue with social distancing and hygiene measures” he said.
From a scientific perspective it would have been preferable to allow reopening more progressively. But on the other hand it is necessary to consider the demands of the economy and the secondary effects of keeping businesses such as restaurants closed for longer, said Egger.
Regarding schools reopening, Egger thinks it strikes a balance between health safety and children’s right to an education. In addition, he doesn’t think children play a significant role in spreading the disease. Denmark opened its schools two weeks ago and hasn’t seen many cases or small epidemics in schools, said Egger. Denmark continues to see new cases, which grew from 8,210 to 10,218 over the last two weeks. The 7-day moving average of daily new cases has been broadly flat over the last two weeks, averaging around 140 new cases a day.
There is some controversy around the role children play in spreading the disease. Research in Germany suggests they might, while other research in the Netherlands, Iceland and Australia suggests they don’t.
When questioned regarding masks, Egger said there is good evidence that masks are useful if the wearer is sick. For those who aren’t the evidence is less clear.
When asked for his views on when a vaccine might be available, he described hopes of a vaccine before the end of this year as “too optimistic”. He thinks we’ll be very lucky if we start large scale vaccinating a year from now.