Doctors ask people to sign ‘do not resuscitate orders’ to limit Covid pressure

People with pre-existing conditions that make them especially vulnerable to coronavirus complications are being asked to sign "do not resuscitate” orders by Swiss doctors.

People who are over 60, for example, and those suffering from heart disease or diabetes, have been urged to sign the orders to ease pressure on intensive care units.

Switzerland is in the grip of a second wave of the virus, with 9,751 new infections since Friday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases across Switzerland and the tiny neighbouring principality of Liechtenstein to 300,352.

An action group called Pro Senectute Schweiz, which campaigns for senior citizens’ rights, described the appeal as “excessive.”

Professor Thierry Fumeaux, speaking on behalf of the group, told Euronews that there was still some spare capacity in the Swiss health system: “What we call certified beds – visited by certificate commissioners – are all full, but of course we have some in reserve because all hospitals have been able to increase capacity by asking more people from their teams not normally in ICU to work there.

“But,” he added, “nevertheless the situation is critical."

With the skiing season such a major part of Switzerland’s tourism industry, local administrators are doing all they can to keep the slopes open – limiting sizes of gatherings, and enforcing strict mask-wearing rules in the high-altitude ski lifts.

Since September, huge areas of France were considered “high risk” by Swiss authorities and arrivals from those regions were obliged to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Switzerland.

But from November 23 onwards, all the regions of mainland France have been removed from the quarantine list.

Many other rules are being relaxed from December 1, including a fivefold increase in the number of people allowed to attend religious services and an end on the ban on visiting hospitals and care homes.

Care home visits can now be authorised "under strict conditions, limitations which may be set according to the health situation of the institution concerned".

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