[En continu] Towards pilot projects from April for major events in Switzerland

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The chairman of the cantonal health directors, Lukas Engelberger, is supporting the organization of larger events as part of pilot projects from April. Self-tests will only be issued in pharmacies. EPFL and the Administration observed several weaknesses in the management of the pandemic. Chile is the most advanced country in Latin America for vaccination against Covid-19, but it is facing a sharp upsurge in infections. He refine himself. In France, Emmanuel Macron declares that he has not decided on another turn of the screw.

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■ Lukas Engelberger supports pilot projects for large events

Despite the increase in Covid-19 cases, the president of the cantonal health directors is supporting the organization of larger events in Switzerland as part of pilot projects. Access to them would be restricted to people who have been vaccinated or whose test is negative.

Such pilot projects should be possible from the end of April, as all at-risk groups should have been vaccinated by then, says Lukas Engelberger in an interview released by the Sunday newspaper. He further emphasizes that the testing campaign is bearing fruit and do-it-yourself tests can then be used.

The prospect of being allowed to watch a play or go to the movies again could encourage the Swiss to get tested, he said. Basel cultural circles are working on such solutions, he adds. He recommends that the cantons and the communes offer more places of tests.

■ Self-tests delivered in pharmacies

Do-it-yourself Covid-19 tests will initially only be available in pharmacies, reports the NZZ Sunday. They can only be obtained free of charge with the health insurance card. This is only possible in pharmacies and testing centers, a spokeswoman for the Federal Office of Public Health said in the newspaper. The decision whether to sell these tests by retailers has not yet been made.

■ EPFL and the Administration identify the weaknesses in crisis management

The federal administration and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (EPFL) have identified major weaknesses in the management of the crisis linked to the new coronavirus in several studies. Among them are the ignored warning signals, the absence of mandates provided for the crisis bodies and the fact that the task force set up by the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) had no capacity to forward-looking strategic action. Warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) were also ignored. The latter had asked Switzerland four years ago to rationalize the organization of the crisis and reduce the number of organizations involved. Another weakness also pointed out is the lack of an IT portal allowing crisis managers at federal and cantonal levels to assess the situation.

■ Chile vaccinates a lot but is re-fining itself

In Chile, a country of 19 million people, a particularly successful campaign has already enabled six million people to receive at least one dose of vaccine and more than three million to be vaccinated. But since Saturday, more than 80% of the population have been subjected to a new total containment, without even the possibility of going out to buy basic products on the weekends.

While health authorities hope that the first effects of the vaccination will be felt in April, the government of conservative Sebastián Piñera has called on the population to make “one last effort” to defeat the coronavirus.

■ In France, no new turn of the screw is decided

“Nothing has been decided” as to a new turn of the screw in France in the face of the Covid-19 epidemic, assured French President Emmanuel Macron in the Sunday Newspaper. He promises to catch up “in a few weeks” to the British in terms of the number of people vaccinated.

“Some said to us: ‘In February, you are going to take the wall’. We didn’t hit the wall […] We have taken measures proportionate to the situation, ”he said.

While France will have “more and more doses”, Emmanuel Macron relies on “mega-centers” of vaccination to meet the objectives of the executive: ten million French people vaccinated in mid-April, 20 million at the mid-May, 30 million in mid-June. He claims to be able to keep his commitment to… offer a vaccine to all adults who want it before the end of the summer ”.