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HEALTH

Which cantons are Switzerland’s coronavirus mutation hotspots?

Coronavirus mutations first detected in the UK, South Africa and Brazil have been found all across Switzerland. Which cantons have been hardest hit?

Which cantons are Switzerland’s coronavirus mutation hotspots?
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Despite declining infection rates across Switzerland, concerns about coronavirus mutations look certain to see an extension of the country’s lockdown beyond February. 

More than 6,000 infections of a mutated form of coronavirus have now been detected in Switzerland. 

According to official government figures, 2,381 of those mutations are of the British variant, along with 96 of the South African variant. 

Three cases of the Brazilian variant have been detected in Switzerland. 

A further 3,526 are of an “unknown origin” according to the Swiss government. 

UPDATED: Brazilian coronavirus mutations detected in two Swiss cantons

Where are Switzerland’s coronavirus mutation hotspots? 

The west of the country has been hardest hit by coronavirus mutations. 

The most cases of the British variant have been discovered in Vaud (451), Bern (321) and Geneva (249). 

In total, 707 variants of an ‘unknown origin’ have been discovered in Geneva, along with 197 in Vaud and 189 in Valais. 

Elsewhere in Switzerland, Zurich recorded 684 examples of unknown variants, followed by Aargau 263. 

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health said that while all possible effort was being put into tracking down the variants, not all cantons had set up infrastructure to track the variants – meaning that country-wide information is incomplete. 

The Brazilian variant has been detected in Zurich and Geneva

Geneva heavily hit

New figures from the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) show that 80 percent of all Covid cases in the canton can be traced back to new variants. 

This is up from just 60 percent in the middle of last week, showing how infectious the variants are

It is not clear why Geneva has recorded such a high number of mutations, but based on previous research, it may be because it lies on the border with France, is particularly densely populated, and has an international airport.

All these factors favour the mobility of the population and the circulation of coronavirus.

What is the long-term prognosis?

Swiss scientists believe that the variants will eventually replace the existing examples of the virus. 

“This is due to the fact that the British, Brazilian and South African variants are transmitted more quickly and easily. This is not an exceptional phenomenon in biology,” Ticino epidemiologist Andreas Cerny told Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes

Virginie Masserey, of the FOPH, said on Tuesday that the British variant would likely be the most dominant strain of the virus in Switzerland from next week (22nd February)

Cerny warned that the danger of the variants meant that measures should not be relaxed anytime soon. 

“The reason for the falling number of cases is the strong measures currently in place in Switzerland,” he said. 

“This should actually reduce the number of cases even more, but this is not happening due to the mutations. If the measures were dropped now, the number of cases would quickly increase again.”

 

 

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HEALTH

The essential Swiss websites you need to use for health matters

If you just moved to Switzerland (or even if you have lived here for a while), your learning curve about health-related matters in the country may be steep. These sites will help you find the information you need.

The essential Swiss websites you need to use for health matters

Staying healthy is probably one of your top priorities, but doing so in a foreign country is not easy.

That is why having some reliable resources that you can check out and follow will be helpful.

First: The Local

No, we are not doctors, but we have published a number of factual articles over the years about many aspects of healthcare in Switzerland that our readers find helpful.

You can find a compilation of these health-related stories here

Federal Office of Public Health 

Obviously, when it comes to matters of health, the Health Ministry has lots of information that will be relevant to you at one time or another.

Aside from matters of health policy (which is important for all residents of Switzerland), the site also has a regularly updated Infectious Diseases Dashboard to let you know what communicable illnesses are currently circulating in Switzerland — and how to avoid them.

It also provides age-specific health information and recommendations — for instance, for children and teenagers, as well as for the elderly.

Hospital websites

Individual hospitals in your area are good sources of information as well, and many of them are in English.

You can find there general health information, care and treatment options, online emergency room signup, new medical technologies being used, and other patient resources:

Geneva University Hospitals (HUG)

Vaud University Hospital (CHUV)

Zurich University Hospital

Basel University Hospital 

If you live in an area without a university medical centre, your local hospital is also a valuable source of health-related information.

Appointment booking platform

This website is especially useful for people who don’t yet have a doctor in Switzerland but need to set an appointment with one. 

It gives you an option of choosing a specialty and location, and then displays doctor’s names and addresses, background information about them, and which time slots they have available.

You can easily set up an appointment this way.

Your health insurer’s website

This may not be an intuitive choice for impartial information about healthcare but you may be surprised.

For instance, Sanitas insurance site has information about emergency care decisions, and how to void unnecessary medical treatments.

CSS has health information geared specifically to men and women.

Helsana talks about ways to combat stress and sleep problems.

These are just a few examples on what valuable tips you can find on your insurer’s website.

Websites devoted to specific medical conditions

If you seek information about a specific illness — such as treatment options in Switzerland — there are plenty of online resources for that as well.

For instance:

Heart and cardiovascular 

Diabetes 

Osteoporosis 

Mental illness 

General pain 

Other diseases 

Last but not least, while not related to health, these websites will also provide useful information for international residents:

The Swiss websites that can help you save money
 
The most useful website resources to help you get Swiss citizenship 
 
 

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