COVID-⁠19 Switzerland

Information on the current situation, as of 14 January 2022

We publish the current key figures from Monday to Friday (with the exception of public holidays).

Epidemiological course,Zurich

Virus variants

The data published by us is based on reports from laboratories that sequence the virus material or specifically examine it for mutations. The test results are recorded via our reporting system as well as via a national SARS-⁠⁠CoV-⁠⁠2 monitoring programme. They may differ from the numbers communicated by the cantons and Liechtenstein.

The novel coronavirus (SARS-⁠CoV-⁠2), which causes the infectious disease COVID-⁠19 is constantly changing due to mutations in its genome (changes in the genetic code). Virus variants are designated and classified on the basis of these mutations. Most mutations have little or no impact on the properties of the virus. However, some SARS-⁠CoV-⁠2 variants are characterised by altered pathogen properties which can influence the epidemiological situation, for example because they are more contagious, cause more serious illness or evade a person’s immune response even though they have had an infection or have been vaccinated (immune evasion). For most known variants there is still a high level of protection against severe courses of the disease for people who are fully vaccinated. For some variants there are still no conclusive findings.

The WHO has classified individual virus variants as VOCs (Variants of Concern) and VOIs (Variants of Interest). These virus variants are being specifically monitored. In Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the classification of variants may differ from that of the WHO. Experts regularly evaluate the latest evidence on known and emerging virus variants and assess the potential impact of the circulating virus variants on the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Virus variants overview

Detected virus variants, Zurich, 28.09.2020 to 14.01.2022

Laboratories report the results of what are known as case-⁠specific variant analyses via the mandatory reporting system. These include the targeted analysis of individual mutations or partial or full genomic sequencing. The systematic monitoring of circulating virus variants is based on targeted full genomic sequencing from a representative sample. On the basis of the data, the share of the individual virus variants can be estimated. In addition, previously unknown virus variants can be identified. The table shows cumulated number of detected variants in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Reporting system: Results of the case-⁠specific variant analysis are transmitted to us via the reporting system. Case-⁠specific analyses include either the targeted examination of individual mutations or a partial or complete sequencing of the genome. The data is primarily collected within the context of a targeted clarification (for example outbreak investigations, cases despite full vaccination and re-⁠infections). The collected samples are therefore not representative.

Monitoring: Results from monitoring are based on the complete genome sequencing of SARS-⁠CoV-⁠2. As part of the monitoring, the laboratory sequences random samples from positive SARS-⁠CoV-⁠2 samples. This allows for a representative and comprehensive overview of the currently circulating virus variants to be obtained. On the basis of the data, we can estimate the proportion of individual virus variants. We are also able to recognise previously unknown variants.

Variants Reporting system Monitoring
B.1.1.529 – Omicron

The WHO classification, Switzerland and Principality of Liechtenstein consider this variant to be a variant of concern (VOC). There are still no validated findings with regard to this variant’s pathogen properties. Given its mutations, greater communicability and reduced immune protection are suspected. This means that there could be the risk of renewed infection and the possibility of reduced vaccine protection. These could likewise lead to greater communicability. Omicron was first detected in Botswana and South Africa in November 2021.

Reporting system

279

Monitoring

-
B.1.617.2, all subvariants AY – Delta

The name Delta refers to all the B.1.617.2 variants and AY sub-⁠variants. According to the WHO classification, this virus variant family is deemed a variant of concern (VOC) because it is more transmissible, causes severe disease and has immune escape properties. This means there is a risk of reinfection and possible reduced vaccine efficacy. Delta was first detected in India in October 2020. Since late June 2021, this has been the dominant variant in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. It has therefore not been classified as a variant of concern in these regions since mid-⁠August 2021.

Reporting system

1441

Monitoring

-
P.1 – Gamma

The WHO classifies this variant as a variant of concern (VOC) because it can cause a more serious case of illness and has immune-⁠evasive properties. This means that there could be the risk of renewed infection and the possibility of reduced vaccine protection. Gamma was first detected in November 2020 in Brazil. Since it currently has no influence on the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, since the beginning of August 2021 it has no longer been designated a variant of concern in these territories.

Reporting system

11

Monitoring

-
B.1.351 – Beta

The WHO classifies this variant as a variant of concern (VOC) because it can cause a more serious case of illness and has immune-⁠evasive properties. This means that there could be the risk of renewed infection and the possibility of reduced vaccine protection. Beta was first detected in May 2020 in South Africa. Since it currently has no influence on the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, since the beginning of August 2021 it has no longer been designated a variant of concern in these territories.

Reporting system

21

Monitoring

-
B.1.1.7 – Alpha

According to the WHO classification, this virus variant is deemed a variant of concern because it is more transmissible. Alpha was first detected in the UK in September 2020. From mid-⁠February to the end of June 2021, the Alpha variant was the dominant variant in Switzerland, until it was superseded by the Delta variant. Since May 2021, Alpha has no longer been classified as a variant of concern in Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

Reporting system

1733

Monitoring

-
C.37 – Lambda

According to the WHO classification and in Switzerland, Lambda is deemed a variant of interest (VOI) because it is presumed to have immune escape properties. This means there is a risk of reinfection and possible reduced vaccine efficacy. It was first detected in Peru in December 2020. It does not currently have an impact on the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is therefore not classified as a variant of concern.

Reporting system

-

Monitoring

-
B.1.617.1 – Kappa

According to the WHO classification and in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, Kappa is deemed a variant of interest (VOI) as it is presumed to have immune escape properties. This means there is a risk of reinfection and possible reduced vaccine efficacy. Kappa was first detected in India in October 2020. Since 20 September 2021, it has no longer been classified as a VOI. It does not currently have an impact on the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is therefore not classified as a variant of concern.

Reporting system

0

Monitoring

-
P.2 – Zeta

According to the WHO classification and in Switzerland, Zeta was deemed a variant of interest (VOI) as it was presumed to have immune escape properties. This means there is a risk of reinfection and possible reduced vaccine efficacy. Zeta was first detected in Brazil in April 2020. Since 6 July 2021, it has no longer been classified as a VOI. It does not currently have an impact on the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is therefore not classified as a variant of concern.

Reporting system

0

Monitoring

-
B.1.525 – Eta

According to the WHO classification and in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, Eta was deemed a variant of interest (VOI) because it was presumed to have immune escape properties. This means there is a risk of reinfection and possible reduced vaccine efficacy. Eta was first detected in December 2020 in several countries. Since 20 September 2021, it has no longer been classified as a VOI. It does not currently have an impact on the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is therefore not classified as a variant of concern.

Reporting system

0

Monitoring

-
B.1.526 – Iota

According to the WHO classification and in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, Iota was deemed a variant of interest (VOI) as it is presumed to have immune escape properties. This means there is a risk of reinfection and possible reduced vaccine efficacy. Iota was first detected in the United States in November 2020. Since 20. September 2021, it has no longer been classified as a VOI. It does not currently have an impact on the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is therefore not classified as a variant of concern.

Reporting system

-

Monitoring

-
B.1.1.7 & E484K

This virus variant is considered to be of interest (VOI) due to an increased risk of infection as well as a suspected heightened risk of re-⁠infection. It is not yet so common in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein and is therefore not classified as a VOC.

Reporting system

0

Monitoring

-
B.1.1.318

The variant B.1.1.318 is classified as a variant of interest in Switzerland as it is presumed to have immune escape properties. This means there is a risk of reinfection and the possibility of reduced vaccine efficacy. It was first detected in January 2021 in several countries. It does not currently have an impact on the epidemiological situation in Switzerland and Liechtenstein and is therefore not classified as a variant of concern.

Reporting system

-

Monitoring

-
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Source: FOPH (Reporting system) – Status: 14.01.2022, 08.20h
Source: FOPH (Monitoring) – Status: 14.01.2022, 08.35h

Development over time

Detected virus variants, Zurich, 28.09.2020 to 14.01.2022

Systematic monitoring of circulating virus variants involves full and targeted sequencing of the genome of a representative sample. On the basis of the data, the share of individual virus variants can be estimated. We can also identify previously unknown variants.

The graph shows the development over time of the estimated share of the virus variants detected in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The line shows the 7-⁠day rolling average (average of the previous 3 to subsequent 3 days). The bar graph shows the number of fully sequenced samples per day.

For the individually selected variants, the daily values are bounded with an upper and lower value, which represent a probability of 95%.
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