80 Covid-19 patients require repatriating to Switzerland. 10% of them require urgent transfer and some need intensive care, reported 20 Minutes.
Lukas Engelberger, a director of the association of cantonal health directors, described the situation as complicated and said that it could have been avoided if people had responded to calls to get vaccinated.
More than half of the Swiss citizens requiring repatriation to Switzerland for care are from the Balkans, where it is thought many caught the virus while on holiday.
Some Balkan countries have experienced high rates of Covid-19 infection and death. Based on one excess death calculation, Bosnia and Herzegovina has lost close to 7 out of every 1,000 residents to the virus1, a figure forecast to rise to almost 1% of the population2 by the end of November 2021. Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the lowest vaccination rates (13% fully) in Europe. The average rate across the EU is 59%. In Switzerland, 52% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Discussions took place on Monday between Switzerland’s cantonal health authorities to agree where to take repatriated patients. Documents prepared for the discussion called for transparency, honesty and solidarity due to concerns that hospitals might refuse to accept extra patients to keep spaces free for others.
Coordinated Medical Services, a federal organisation that helps to coordinate health services across the country, expects the current situation to persist for two months or more. Currently, intensive care in Switzerland is running at 80% of its capacity.
1(22,072 ÷ 3,256,632) – excess deaths from Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at 2 September 2021.
2(31,915 ÷ 3,256,632) – excess deaths from Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation projected by 1 December 2021.