An update on coronavirus in Geneva and Victoria

Switzerland currently bans entry from countries with more than 60 new infections per 100,000 population in the last 14 days. Geneva passed that threshold on 27th July, and passed 100 new cases per 100,000 on 1 August. So if Geneva was a separate country, residents would be forced to quarantine upon entering the rest of Switzerland. Or if they were not considered to be Swiss citizens, they would not be able to enter at all. Belgium has banned travel to and from Geneva, along with Valais and Vaud, as a result of the rising infections.

The overall new infection rate for the last 14 days is 18 per 100,000 for the rest of Switzerland, excluding Geneva, and 23 per 100,000 for Switzerland as a whole (still well below the Swiss government’s high risk threshold). Why is it so much higher in Geneva?  As a Swiss epidemiologist explained: “population density, airport and border with France”. Geneva has the second highest population density after Basel, the second-busiest airport, and many cross-border workers (325,000 crossed the border into Geneva each day in 2019). However, the increase in cases in Geneva has as only reached 20% of the peak in the first wave.  With any luck, it will not reach the level of the first peak as much more has been learnt about how to use social distancing and masks to reduce the effective reproduction rate of the virus since then.

The state of Victoria in Australia is also experiencing a second wave of infections, much stronger than the first wave. As of Tuesday 4 August, Victoria experienced a total of 6101 new infections in the last 14 days, giving it a rate of 94 per 100,000 population, almost as high as Geneva. The new infection rate for the rest of Australia is very low at 2.4 per 100,000 in the last 14 days.

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