11 April 2020 – Policy Brief
As per email from Lukas Bruhin of 8.4. we received the mandate to develop proposals on the stages and possibilities of a transition strategy for Switzerland. This mandate was spelt out in the mail by Emilia Pasquier: to develop a first draft which proposes (1) criteria for lifting measures, (2) three packages of measuresand (3) a concretisation of the first package of measures.
In this Policy Brief, we respond to the request from the Krisenstab to develop concepts and proposals for the easing of measures against the COVID-19 epidemic in Switzerland. We define epidemiological requirements and criteria for easing measures. These relate key indicators on the course of the epidemicto the capacities for clinical care of COVID-19 patients, contact tracing, diagnostic testing and effective isolation and quarantine.
The relaxing of control measures can be justified only if the effective basic reproduction number Re is substantially below 1 with sufficient statistical certainty, and if the indicator variables (daily confirmed case number, daily hospitalization rates) are below a critical release level. A critical tightening level also needs to be defined, as a function of the capacity for clinical care, personal protection, diagnostics, traceability of infections, and effective quarantine. The critical release and tightening levels could be developed and implemented on a regional level to account for the great differences both in case numbers and capacities.
We make concrete proposals for the initial phase of easing the measure across the settings of primary and secondary education; tertiary education; public or private events; shops and markets; restaurants, bars, discos, night clubs and erotic salons; entertainment and leisure venues; hairdressers; camping and public gatherings and the health care settings. These proposals consider the dimensions of size of gatherings, high-risk groups, workplace protection and mobility. Most of the recommendations are based on expert opinion rather than on established scientific knowledge.
The Expert Groups of the NCS-TF commented on the transition strategy from their perspective, including the Clinical Care and Infection Prevention and Control groups, the Ethics, Legal, and Social Implications group, the Economics Expert Group. The Exchange Platform group gave an international perspective. We stress that this report is work in progress and will be refined further in the coming days.