Coronavirus Switzerland: Hotline is running hot, protective masks are out of stock

The Swiss hospitals are preparing for the Corona virus. picture: az

Because of corona virus: run on canned food, hotline is running hot, protective masks are out of stock

The corona virus is making Switzerland increasingly nervous. Retailers are reporting increased demand. Protective masks are out of stock.

Dominic Wirth / ch media

Until a few days ago, there were around 100 people who reported to the federal coronavirus hotline every day. But the calm has been over since the virus came closer to Switzerland. On Tuesday, the day the virus finally reached Switzerland, the operators reported 1,370 calls. In the evening there were complaints from Ticino, where the first Swiss case was recorded, that the hotline was overloaded.

The nervousness in the country is increasing, and retailers are feeling that too. So far, there have hardly been any hamster purchases, as reported in northern Italy in the past few days. But the demand for certain products, it is said at both Migros and Lidl Switzerland, has increased in recent days – especially in Ticino.

Lidl reports that durable products such as canned goods or pasta are particularly popular. Migros supplements the list with other products such as eggs, cheese and baby food. A Migros spokesman emphasized that a crisis team had been set up three weeks ago in order to maintain the supply contract even in the event of a pandemic. Lidl writes that there are “no bottlenecks”, the supply situation is “currently unaffected”.

Nothing changes in the Federal Reserve’s recommendations

The corona virus is causing many to replenish their supplies. The federal government has long recommended that every household should stock up on emergency supplies in order to prepare for crisis situations. The Corona virus does not change any of these recommendations, it says at the responsible Federal Office for Economic Affairs (BWL). The list includes groceries for a week, such as rice, pasta, oil, ready meals, coffee, salt, dried fruit, muesli or chocolate.

Are you ready? The checklist for your emergency stock

image: bwl

Regularly required medicines and hygiene articles also belong in the emergency stock, including 50 hygiene masks per person. In many Swiss households, little attention has been paid to the emergency stock recommendations, as the BWL 2018 showed in a study. A third of the respondents did not have a sufficient food supply.

The study did not ask how many Swiss people had sufficient hygiene masks. What is certain is that there has been a run on protective masks in Switzerland in the past few weeks – even though the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) primarily recommends regular hand washing for self-protection. Hygiene masks do not protect healthy people from being infected, according to the BAG website. However, they could significantly reduce the spread of viruses by sick people.

In the meantime, protective masks are hardly available in Germany anyway. Many pharmacies have been selling their supplies in the past few days. According to Pharmasuisse, the association of pharmacists, demand exceeds supply. The wholesaler Galexis, which supplies many pharmacies across the country, can no longer supply masks. The demand for respirators and other pandemic articles has exceeded inventory “by far for three weeks,” said a spokesman. It is currently not possible to say when the international suppliers will supply masks to Switzerland again.

The protective masks are sold out at this pharmacy in Chiasso. Image: KEYSTONE

Regional hospitals request breathing masks

The federal government has set up a mandatory warehouse for masks that offer better protection against viruses, so-called FFP masks, which are primarily used in medical facilities such as hospitals. According to the Federal Office for National Economic Supply, this is held on behalf of various suppliers. According to the influenza pandemic plan, the compulsory stock contains around 190000 pieces.

Various Swiss hospitals have already asked about the masks because there are no longer enough goods available on the market. These are individual regional hospitals, as the BWL specifies on request. So far, there has been no compulsory clearance. The allocation of the masks will be coordinated by the federal government through the cantons, writes the BWL. The federal government does not know what the holdings of FFP masks in hospitals, but also doctor’s surgeries, pharmacies or rescue and hospital services. However, he already sent a letter in late January recommending the hospitals to check their inventory. (Bzbasel.ch)

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