ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland on Saturday reported 6,100 coronavirus infections, some 25% more than a day earlier, and 56 deaths, the Swiss health ministry said, as hospitals in the canton of Ticino that borders on hard-hit Italy were under pressure.
“The situation in Ticino is very tense,” said Daniel Koch, head of the Federal Office of Health’s communicable diseases division. The latest tally nationwide is up more than 1,200 cases in a day, while the deaths were up 13 from Friday.
Koch said he had been in touch with Ticino’s top doctor who said that the arrival of patients was taxing resources but that there were still sufficient hospital beds to accommodate them, for now.
The Swiss military took delivery of 50 additional ventilators and deployed them in Ticino on Friday, amid a global race by countries to add more potentially life-saving breathing devices needed by critically ill patients to give them a fighting chance of survival.
Speaking at a press conference in Bern, Koch said the 25% rise in Swiss cases in 24 hours did not come as a surprise, given Switzerland only this week heightened restrictions on events and gatherings, including limits on groups in public to five people, with each keeping a 2 meter (6.6 ft) distance, under threat of a 100 Swiss franc ($101.37) fine.
The crisis’s end cannot yet be forecast, Koch said, but he expects at least the rate of increase in new cases to begin flattening out in a week or so, as the new limits on freedom of movement temper the spread of the disease that has now sickened a quarter of a million globally and led to 10,000 deaths, so far.
Reporting by John Miller