Switzerland relaxes COVID measures
Yesterday 02.02.2022, a Swiss Federal Council decision withdrew the requirement to work from home and the quarantine system for close contacts. In addition, they announced a wide range of additional COVID relaxations, which will take effect in two weeks. Switzerland relaxes COVID measures
Switzerland scraps contact quarantine and home working
In a press conference on Wednesday, the Swiss President, Ignazio Cassis, and Health Minister, Alain Berset, announced that from February 3, 2022, the requirement to work from home will be replaced by a recommendation and the obligation to quarantine as a close contact will be scrapped.
The Federal Council stated that, although the mandatory five-day quarantine for those with close contacts to COVID cases is lifted, those who test positive for the disease must still isolate themselves.
About 90% of people are “immunised”, that is, having been fully vaccinated and boosted, or have recovered from COVID-19. According to Alain Berset, Swiss hospitals have not clogged, and ICU admissions are declining despite a continuous rise in infections. Switzerland is “close to the endemic phase,” he added.
Announcement of new COVID relaxations
Further, the Federal Council announced that two new plans are being submitted to further lift COVID measures in the country.
Variant 1 involves removing most COVID restrictions immediately
As part of the first plan, known as “Variant 1,” all COVID restrictions would/could be lifted by February 17.
A complete opening has epidemiological risks as it can accelerate the spread of viruses. Therefore, the procedure can only apply if the infection has passed its peak. Then, a substantial increase in population immunisation and a decrease in infections and hospitalisations are necessary. Switzerland relaxes COVID measures
The following protective measures will be lifted:
- A requirement to obtain a certificate for restaurants, events, and leisure and cultural facilities.
- A requirement for wearing masks in public transportation, shops, and other public spaces.
- The restrictions on private meetings.
- The authorisation requirement for major events.
Despite this, the protective shield for major events should remain as renewed restrictions cannot be ruled out. Individuals who have tested positive should also continue to be isolated—also, people who are particularly vulnerable need to be protected. As part of the Federal Council’s inquiry, the cantons will also be asked if masks should be a requirement in transportation, retail, and health care.
Variant 2 slows reopening to two phases
Variant 2 lifts COVID measures in two steps, rather than at once. If the current state of hospitals remains not clear, the second plan goes into action.
Restaurants, events, leisure and cultural establishments would no longer be required to obtain a certificate starting February 17 (although mandatory seating in restaurants would continue). Private gatherings would no longer be restricted and areas with a 2G+ certificate (like nightclubs, pools or intensive sports) would only require 2G (fully vaccinated or recovered). It would be a cantonal requirement to obtain a COVID certificate and register for events, as opposed to a federal requirement. Those who tested positive for COVID would still have to isolate themselves.
Secondly, all COVID related rules should be removed for indoor events, including mask requirements and 2G and COVID restrictions. The date of this second step will be determined by the epidemiological situation in the country.
Swiss cantons have until February 9 to make a decision
Both plans have been submitted to the cantons, who will decide which they wish to follow. Commenting is open until February 9, following which the government will announce its official decision, expected on February 10.
All corona measures in details.