Swiss health chiefs allow hugs with grandchildren, arguing “the elderly are suffering enough already”

Switzerland is allowing grandchildren to hug their grandparents, with the head of Infectious Diseases at the Ministry of Health claiming children under 10 do not spread coronavirus.

DANIEL KOCH, said on Monday researchers have determined younger kids do not transmit Covid-19, and as such he favoured their contact with “this vulnerable at risk group.”

He said that “older people already suffer too much to be deprived of hugging their grandchildren when it has been established that the little ones are not a danger to them.”

He did stress however that contact should be brief and young children should not be left in the care of elderly grandparents.

This changes to the official guidelines in Switzerland comes after consultations with experts at universities in Zurich, Bern and Geneva, according to the Swiss broadcaster SRF, and only apply to children showing no signs of ill health under the age of 10.

Switzerland is one of the European countries that has already begun de-escalating confinement measures.

As of this week, hairdressers have been able to open their doors while schools and shops that do not sell “essentials food and basics” can open their doors in a fortnight.

Dr Koch said the official advice, shared by the vast majority of health authorities worldwide that young kids and their grandparents should be kept apart to avoid infection, was given before more information was made available.

He said young kids don’t transmit the virus because “they just don’t have the receptors to get the disease.”

He pointed out that for many elderly people, their grandchildren are their lives and are often crucial to their mental well-being.

In fact, he claims it is the parents who are more likely to pose a risk to their health.

But the move has not been welcomed by all health experts with a senior German advisor on the coronavirus, Christian Drosten, arguing there is not enough data to state without doubt that young children do not transmit the virus.

He said studies have come to varying conclusions.

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Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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