Faced with the rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, Ueli Maurer calls not to give in to hysteria. What is needed is rather a fact-based analysis, he noted on Saturday in an interview with the Schweiz am Wochenende.
According to the Federal Councilor, a general strengthening of the rules is not appropriate. ‘It is not acceptable to close schools again and lock people up. We must learn to live with the virus – with consistent implementation of measures. But we must be able to live! ‘, He emphasizes.
Mr Maurer also calls for not focusing only on the evolution of the number of new cases. Hospital admissions and deaths must also be taken into account, he explains. Only a few people were admitted to hospital just because of the Covid-19. In most cases of hospitalization, patients have pre-existing pathologies, he adds.
High deficit in federal funds
Switzerland has not handled the coronavirus crisis badly so far, notes Maurer. The country has found its own, reasonable path. It is important to continue on this path and to rebalance it again and again, specifies the Minister of Finance, who stresses that the pandemic has already been expensive.
This year, the Confederation’s accounts will close on an ordinary deficit of 3 billion francs instead of the budgeted surplus of 300 million. According to projections, extraordinary expenses should also reach around 17.8 billion francs, says the Zurich resident.
For 2021, the finance department forecasts a deficit of 2.6 billion francs, adds the finance minister, updating the estimates communicated in mid-August. This sum includes extraordinary expenses. ‘For 2022, we are still forecasting a deficit of a billion’, but there are great contingencies, says Maurer.
Up to 30 billion
Currently, the total cost of the pandemic is between 25 and 30 billion francs. The finance minister confirmed earlier statements that there will be no tax hikes or savings plan. Thanks to the good health of federal finances so far, Switzerland will be able to reduce its additional debt without such measures, he said.
And to call for financial discipline ‘because once we get over the coronavirus crisis, the economic damage will remain for years’.
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