For a week it looked like Switzerland’s fate rested on its ski lifts. On Monday, the plans of the Minister of Health Alain Berset (48) to limit winter tourism were leaked – representatives of the mountain cantons went straight to the barricades.
With the active help of the bourgeois parliamentary majority, they resisted – and were rewarded: measures that the Federal Council finally announced on Friday afternoon for winter sports are still feasible: no visitor restrictions for individual ski areas, but a transport upper limit.
There was nothing else in the Berset Federal Council. He went even less than required by the cantons. Most of the positions voted to limit the capacity during the consultations.
It was heated on Friday, according to a source close to the Federal Council. The council stretched. This is largely due to the fact that Berset’s concerns have moved from the mountainous regions to those lowland cantons where the virus threatens to spiral out of control – right at the start of the festive bustle, Sunday sales and three weeks before family celebrations with grandpa and grandpa. in front of the Christmas tree.
Berset tackles German-speaking Switzerland
In Friday’s round, the health minister openly campaigned for a mandate to be able to take those cantons to the breasts whose new infections clearly indicate the exponential spread of the virus – all in German-speaking Switzerland.
In the end, the entire Federal Council followed him, reluctantly and only because federal president Simonetta Sommaruga, 60, demanded an even stricter approach. In a separate report, she threatened the cantons with partial disqualifications, according to Tages-Anzeiger.
On Saturday at 10:00 Sommaruga and Berset spoke with representatives of several cantonal governments in a videoconference. They especially prayed for the people of eastern Switzerland who, despite the high number of infections, have not yet ordered any further measures.
As SonntagsBlick learned from several sources, in addition to St. Gallen and Turgau, the cantons of Basel-Okrug, Solothurn and Aargau were also asked to speak. The canton of Ticino also took part in the talks and has recently again recorded a large number of cases. Zurich, the most populous canton, was omitted.
The Federal Council wants action
Berset now expects a coherent approach: recreational and cultural facilities are to be closed and the number of event participants is to be reduced rapidly. If necessary, restaurants should also be sent on vacation.
The timing of the exacerbation is tight. The Federal Council will meet on Tuesday, at least until then Berset is expecting a declaration of will. The signal is clear: long negotiations are no longer possible. And: the cantons leave no traces, the federal government seizes power. As it is said, most of them were cooperative.
Resistance from the Cantons
Behind the scenes, however, individual cantonal officials criticize Berset’s play of power. They resist the Bern orders. If this resistance persists, there will be a great cacophony in the coming days. Then the Federal Council would be forced to dictate further restrictions – provided that Berset managed to win over most of its colleagues.
The French-speaking part of Switzerland, whose representatives have recently been exposed to harsh criticism, operated faster. In recent weeks, Berset has established a bilateral partnership with the French-speaking cantons – the measures now being taken are gradually paying off: cases are falling far more in French-speaking Switzerland than in German-speaking Switzerland. And today they are deeper than this side of Saane.
Nevertheless, the death toll remains extremely high. Two weeks ago, SonntagsBlick reported that the fire department had to help with funerals in the canton of Geneva. According to Geneva virologist Isabella Eckerle (40), the gloomy photos now threaten German-speaking Switzerland as well. “The deaths are bound to increase again in German-speaking Switzerland. Intensive care units are already very busy. About a third of these patients will not survive the disease – you can find out what that means.
More stringent measures are inevitable
Therefore, according to Eckerle, stricter measures are inevitable: “Unfortunately, in people’s perception, anything that is allowed poses no threat. But that’s not the case in Switzerland in particular. “
In addition, the cantonal patchwork duvet overwhelms the population. It is not always clear what measures apply in which regions – this has been the case for months.
Psychologist Jacqueline Frossard (62) believes that better coordination is key to understanding the population: “Federalism is extremely valuable, but more uniform approaches are needed, especially in neighboring cantons.” A better deal is important, but also ensuring that shops and bars do not stay open at the expense of other cantons.
“Danger is often underestimated”
Nevertheless, one cannot fail to take responsibility for oneself, emphasizes Josef Widler (66): “Everyone should act as if he were contagious. Today the danger is often underestimated. ” President of the Medical Society of Zurich: “We make too many systematic mistakes, for example, forget to wash our hands.”
It is also clear that further federal and cantonal measures are needed to reduce the number of cases. Many hospitals are still at their limits, and the nursing staff are also struggling with the consequences of the Second Wave.
Therefore, the approaching Christmas is of great concern to experts: “In combination with high morbidity, they can turn into a powder keg,” says virologist Eckerle.
“We’re on very thin ice.”