Over the weekend Matthias Egger, the head of the Swiss Covid-19 taskforce warned that the lifting of restrictions on 22 June 2020 was premature.
Egger told the newspaper NZZ that we continue to lack an effective monitoring system for the whole of Switzerland, reported the newspaper Le Matin.
On 19 June 2020, the federal government announced that it was lifting most of the remaining restrictions introduced to reduce the spread of virus on 22 June 2020. Among numerous changes, social distance was reduced from 2 to 1.5 metres and the limit on the number of people who can assemble for political protests was removed. However, protesters must now wear masks.
The head of the taskforce said that the number of new infections appears to have increased in the past two weeks and that it is likely that the reproduction rate is 1 or higher. The reproduction rate, or ‘R’ value, is a measure of how many people an infected person infects. If the reproduction rate moves above 1 the number of infections will grow.
Egger said there is a risk that the number of cases may rise sharply going forward. The Covid-19 taskforce considers the recent lifting of restrictions premature. He also alluded to a lag between changing the measures and the emergence of new infections. Egger thinks the recent increase in new cases was probably due to the easing announced on 11 May 2020. The effects of easing since then is not yet clear.
Data collection, contact tracing and quarantine are now the key elements for managing viral spread. Rapid testing of everyone a new case has been in contact with, not only their family and close contacts, is the best way to halt spread, according to Egger. He also sees benefits from widespread mask wearing, especially now that most restrictions have been removed.