Ladina Triaca and Gianna Blum
The fourth wave threatens to break into Switzerland with full force. One month after the number of infections skyrocketed, more and more people end up in the hospital. St.Gallen is therefore already examining the extension of the certificate requirement to hospitals and restaurants. “I cannot answer that the intensive care units overflow,” says health director Bruno Damann (64).
The canton of Bern is different. At the very moment when the epidemiological situation comes to a head, the authorities are shutting down the corona program. In an email that Blick had, they informed the companies on Friday that the canton would stop operational testing at the end of August.
No more operational tests
So far, companies in the canton of Bern have been able to have their employees tested on a regular basis. The federal government paid the costs for the PCR or antigen rapid tests, and the canton was responsible for billing. Since the Bernese authorities will no longer bill the costs from September 1st and the companies will not be able to contact the federal government directly, this means the de facto end of the test program.
“The extensive testing was always designed as a temporary solution until all those willing to vaccinate have been vaccinated,” explains the head of communications at the health department, Gundekar Giebel. Now that all those willing to be vaccinated have been vaccinated, testing in the companies can be stopped. It is recommended that companies encourage their employees to vaccinate. Around 400 companies took part in the Bern test program.
Hospitals, medical practices and retirement and nursing homes are excluded from the canton’s decision. Because of the dynamic epidemiological development, testing is still recommended in health facilities with an above-average number of people at risk, says spokesman Giebel.
Future of school tests uncertain
How the test campaign at the Bern schools will continue is still open. In the past few weeks, around 72,000 schoolchildren have been tested, 63 people were positive. The canton wants to carry out the tests at the schools for another two weeks. Only then will he decide on a possible continuation.
The Federal Council proposes that symptom-free people should pay for corona tests themselves from the beginning of October. However, the federal government should continue to pay for the test costs in schools, companies or hospitals. The canton of Bern no longer wants to benefit from this – at least as far as the companies are concerned.