Coronavirus: Supreme health director criticizes turbulent opening


Lukas Engelberger (Die Mitte), President of the Conference of Health Directors. Image: keystone

 The  decision is very unwise” – the chief health director criticizes the turbulent opening

© The  cantons want more speed, but basically support the step-by-step easing of the Federal Council. Lukas Engelberger, chief health director, criticizes national councilors who want to force openings regardless of the epidemiological situation.

Christoph Bernet / ch media

Everything should work out on March 22nd: restaurants, fitness studios, cultural and entertainment establishments. That is what the majority of the National Council’s Health Commission wants. She wants to enforce the opening step with additions to the urgent amendment to the Covid-19 law, which the parliament is advising in the March session. © The  committee’s decision on Friday was made at the request of SVP National Councilor Albert Rösti. © The  SVP, the FDP and a majority of the center representatives in the commission had approved him.

© The  cantons also want to open:

Should parliament approve, the Federal Council would lose important competencies in fighting pandemics. Because the openings should come into force regardless of the epidemiological situation. And the state government could not quickly revoke it by ordinance if it deteriorated. © The  law passed by parliament takes precedence.

Changes would not only weaken the state government

© The  revolt of the national council health politicians against the leadership role of the executive is badly received by the highest health director, government councilor Lukas Engelberger (center / BS, president of the health directors (GDK). He says:

© The  change would not only weaken the Federal Council. “We cantons would also be very challenged if opening steps were implemented by law at the federal level.”

If the state government’s hands were tied, it would be up to the cantons to take the necessary steps with a view to health emergencies: “But that is much more complicated and takes more time than a nationwide solution.” Engelberger’s verdict on the decision of the National Council Health Commission: “That is very unwise.”

When can the restaurant terraces open again? Image: keystone

Pressure for faster pace

© The  Federal Council presented its opening strategy last Wednesday and sent it for consultation. © The  cantonal governments had to forward their answers to the GDK by Sunday evening. It will send a “consolidated statement” to the Federal Council on Monday. Engelberger has not yet commented on the content. © The  consultation process was not influenced by the advance of the health commission:

Some of the responses to the consultation from the cantons have already been published. © The re has been a lot of critical feedback on the Federal Council’s plans. Many cantonal governments, regardless of their political affiliation, are putting pressure on a faster pace. © The  Vaudois State Council, dominated by red and green, wants restaurants to be allowed to serve guests again during the day from March 15. © The  bourgeois governments of eastern Switzerland are calling for outdoor restaurants to be opened by March 1st. Many cantons are also against sticking to the five-person limit for private events inside.

“It is important not to gamble away what has been achieved”

But there is no fundamental opposition to the fundamental thrust of the Federal Council’s opening strategy. © The  step-by-step approach to the opening steps, based on the epidemiological situation, is universally welcomed. For example, in the consultation response of the solid, middle-class Aargau government, in which SVP man Jean-Pierre Gallati is the health director, it is important not to gamble away what has been achieved and thus avoid a yo-yo effect. ” A risk-based and nationally uniform approach to the easing is correct.

SVP National Councilor Albert Rösti: “© The  Federal Council has now also perceived the pressure” Image: keystone

In the “SonntagsZeitung”, center parliamentary group leader Andrea Gmür distanced himself from the disempowerment of the Federal Council, supported by some party colleagues. This worsens the chances of a majority in parliament. This does not worry SVP National Councilor Albert Rösti, who submitted the application, very much. It is important that the discussion has now been launched:

Whether he does that will be shown on Wednesday when the Federal Council decides on the opening strategy. (


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Coronavirus Supreme health director criticizes turbulent opening


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