Restrictions on nightclubs are being discussed in Switzerland after 5 people frequenting the Flamingo Club in Zurich tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, according to RTS. Those testing positive and another 300 club-goers have been quarantined.
Remaining 1.5 metres apart is not easy in a nightclub. Add noise and the inevitable shouting that goes with it in the enclosed confines of a nightclub, and it’s easy to see a lot of people could get exposed to virus-laden droplets, the most effective way to spread the disease. Mask wearing could help, but there is currently no requirement to wear these in clubs.
Given these inherent challenges, testing and tracing chains of infection become the only effective line of defence. However, the recent incident in Zurich shows how poorly this can work. Around a third of the people entering the club in Zurich gave false email addresses when they entered the club, making them nearly impossible to trace. Some of those doing the contact tracing were insulted by the nightclub guests they contacted, according to Zurich’s health department.
A number of experts in Switzerland warn of the risks a second wave of SARS-CoV-2 infection if tracing and social distancing measures are not followed. Quickly identifying infections with plentiful testing and rapidly and effectively tracing of chains of infection is critical. If new clusters of infection are quickly dealt with before they have a chance to spread, widespread infection and restrictions on daily life can be avoided, limiting the health, social and economic impacts.
A team of government experts recently announced that they think the reproduction rate in Switzerland has risen from 0.6 in April 2020 to 1.60 on 19 June 2020, the latest estimate. Rates in Zurich (1.82) and Geneva (1.82) were higher than the national average (1.60). When this number goes above 1 the number of new cases rises. The last time the rate was below 1 was on 26 May 2020.
In another incident 20 people were infected in a bar in the town of Spreitenbach in the canton of Aargau. According to the newspaper Le Matin, these infections are almost certainly linked to the outbreak in the nightclub in Zurich.
Some politicians are calling for an obligation for all club-goers to wear masks. Other options being discussed include temperature checks at the door, copies of ID to get in, and forced closure if owners cannot find ways to get their clients to comply with the rules.