Frequently Asked Questions
Corona Reduit is a strategic concept to protect exposed risk persons. It might avoid another lockdown in case of a second wave of infections. We propose a private, voluntary and temporary self-isolation of Covid-19 risk patients in vacant hotels and holiday flats of the Swiss Alps. This resembles the iconic military reduits of the past. Its purpose is to keep the invisible enemy away from the weakest members of society until the worst is over. It’s about buying time and a more pronounced spread among low risk persons. The scope of the concept is strategic.
Another general lockdown in a second wave is avoidable if risk persons can be protected individually. The isolation of risk persons in high population density areas is very challenging and yields a lot of undesired side effects. The low risk majority of the population sacrifices a lot for the risk groups. A voluntary temporary self-isolation of risk groups mitigates the problem for everybody. It also reduces the pressure on the health care system because the infection probability of participating risk persons is significantly reduced. From a social and economic point of view, the project makes up for some of the vanished demand in the hotel industry and the tourism dependent mountain regions. Additionally, low risk persons can gradually return to normal life.
Participation eligibility could be based on a risk evaluating algorithm or a physician’s certification. Risk person participation may be incentivized via health improvement programs which might lower their risk profile. The project team has collected large volumes of worldwide data from conventional and innovative sources to make the high-risk group more clearly identifiable. They are people of retirement age with >95% severe pre-existing conditions (obesity, hypertension, diabetes, heart, respiratory). The median age of death is over 80 years. Roughly 50% of casualties are nursing home residents that only represent 1% of the population. Men make up 60% of Swiss casualties. Some of these people need care, others are independent. The offer may be extended to both groups. However, independentpeople are more easily integrated. The risk group may be narrowed down via antibody testing of already immune people.
Hotels may register voluntarily on a website. Compared to normal circumstances in the hotel business, enhanced hygiene precautions are necessary. Best practices were envisioned for these. Healthy negatively tested risk persons or their relatives may register voluntarily with participating hotels on a website for which a prototype exists. Analogous registration is also possible, e.g. via phone or paper form. The conditions of participation are privately agreed upon in a Reduit contract. The role of the government in execution should be subsidiary and mostly decentralized on a county level to encourage quick decision making and flexibility.
TThere are at least 65’000 hotel rooms in the Swiss Alps. Some locations are better suited than others (infrastructure, beds, altitude). Hotels with gardens and robust infrastructure are preferred. Participation of hotels is voluntary as well. Owners of holiday apartments may also join the effort.
Realization takes some time. Corona Reduit may be part of a strategy to avoid a second lockdown. Looking ahead, a second wave of infections might occur in autumn/winter 2020/21 or even earlier as the lockdown is loosened. This allows for a more detailed and coordinated plan to be set up. The duration is dependent on the epidemiological progression in the general low risk population (herd immunity) and improvements in the treatment of disease as well as public hygiene. The voluntarist approach permits an individual termination of participation at all times, though.
Costs have to be negotiated between stakeholder representatives. An indication is the cost for a spot in a nursing home of 305 CHF per day and person. This range is comfortably above the cost structure of most hotels. These costs should be largely financed by the federal government with a cost sharing quota for risk persons. It thereby protects life, reduces the burden on the healthy majority of the population and supports the heavily impacted hotel industry and mountain regions. Compared to lockdown, the cost would be negligible.