Two years of Coronavirus in Switzerland – a review
Timeline for Switzerland at the time of Coronavirus
These days, we are all concerned with the Ukraine war and somehow forgot about the biggest problem we had in the past two years.
htr.ch had a tribute to Switzerland’s happenings in the past couple of years. So we are using their nicely prepared timeline as a base.
It all started February 25, 2020, when all Cantons and the Federal Council were forced to take drastic measures in the fight against Coronavirus. Two years of Coronavirus in Switzerland – a review
In the review, you will find some of the most important events during those two long years.
For exactly two years and five days, Swiss public and private life has been plagued by the Coronavirus. Five pandemic waves have hit the communities in the cantons since February 25, 2020.
February 25: Switzerland confirms its first Covid-19 case
February 28: Until March 15, all events in Switzerland with more than a thousand people are banned.
March 5: Switzerland’s first death from Coronavirus.
March 14: Ticino is the first canton to close all restaurants, bars, and shops except grocery stores and pharmacies. Federal Councilor Berset calls on ski areas to close immediately.
March 15: The spring session of Parliament is cancelled.
March 16: The Federal Council declared a state of emergency and applied the emergency laws. All schools and training centres will be closed until April 4. Large gatherings of more than 100 people are not permitted. There is a limit of fifty people per bar, restaurant, and disco. But Hotels are allowed to remain open.
March 17: Except for grocery stores, pharmacies, and drugstores, all shops are closed. Masks are not recommended yet. There will be the largest mobilization of the armed forces since World War II. Several cantons have requested support for a military operation
March 20: Gatherings of more than five people are prohibited. The Federal Council is preparing a package of assistance worth forty billion francs for the economy suffering from the consequences of the pandemic. Disinfectants and protective materials are in short supply. Non-emergency operations in hospitals are prohibited.
April 16: The Federal Council announces the gradual lifting of the lockdown measures in three phases.
May 11: In addition to compulsory schools, shops, cafes, restaurants, fitness centres, libraries and museums are also allowed to reopen if they have taken protective measures. Public transport is again primarily running according to the regular timetable.
May 30: Gatherings with up to 30 people are allowed again.
June 6: Cinemas, theatres, zoos, ski lifts, campgrounds, swimming pools and post-compulsory schools can resume operations. A 300-person cap will replace the 30-person limit for events. Public and tourist transport will go into regular operations.
June 22: The Federal Council announces further easing. Up to 1,000 people can gather in compliance with protection concepts. Restaurants and discos also have fewer restrictions.
July 1: The Federal Council orders people over the age of twelve to wear masks on public transportation. The obligation applies from July 6 in trains, trams and buses, mountain railways, cable cars, and ships.
October 1: Large events with more than a thousand people are allowed again. However, strict conditions apply.
7th/October 8: The number of infections rises to over a thousand a day across Switzerland. Ticino is reacting by closing clubs, discotheques and dance halls.
October 19: Masks must be worn in enclosed public spaces, such as train platforms, bus stops, and airports.
October 23: Because of the increasing number of cases, numerous cantons are massively reducing leisure activities and private life and extending the mask requirement.
October 28: Individual cantons call on the army for support. The Federal Council takes further measures to prevent a second lockdown, including the approval of rapid tests, a mask requirement outdoors, the ban on private meetings with more than ten people, and the closing of discos.
4th/5th/6th November: The number of new infections rises to over 10,000 per day across Switzerland. Neuchâtel, Vaud, Friborg and Valais are closing bars and restaurants.
December 12: The Federal Council decides on a curfew. Throughout Switzerland, restaurants, bars, shops, markets, museums, libraries, leisure and sports centres must be closed between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m.
December 23: Vaccination starts in Switzerland: The first person to be vaccinated is a 90-year-old woman in the canton of Lucerne. Seniors are also getting their first vaccinations in four other cantons.
January 13: The Federal Council takes a big step towards lockdown.
18/19 January: The new, stricter corona protection measures come into force. Among other things, shops that do not sell everyday goods have to close.
March 1: Shops, museums and library reading rooms are allowed to reopen, as are the outdoor areas of sports and leisure facilities, zoos and botanical gardens. Outdoor meetings with family and friends and sporting and cultural activities with up to 15 people are allowed again.
March 12: The Federal Council approves the second relaxation step, allowing restaurants to open terraces.
March 22: The restriction on indoor gatherings of family and friends is relaxed from five to a maximum of ten people.
April 19: Events with an audience are possible again under certain conditions, such as sports stadiums, cinemas, theatres, and concert halls. Indoor sporting and cultural activities are allowed again. Restaurants can reopen their terraces.
May 31: Restaurants can reopen their indoor areas with protection concepts; the mask requirement at the table is lifted, and tables can accommodate six instead of four people. Also, there is relaxation at sporting and cultural events. Thermal baths and wellness facilities are allowed to reopen.
June 26: Coronavirus measures are greatly reduced and simplified. Several requirements will be lifted, including wearing a mask outside and working from home. In addition, any number of people can sit together again in restaurants, and large events with a certificate can occur without restrictions on capacity and number of people.
September 13: A certificate is mandatory inside restaurants, cultural and leisure facilities, and indoor events. Employers can also take protective measures. The Federal Council is thus reacting to the persistently tense situation in the hospitals.
September 20: People who are not vaccinated or have recovered must present a negative test upon entry. After four to seven days, they have to be tested again.
November 27: Federal government decides entry ban because of Omicron.
November 28: Switzerland has the first Omicron case. It is a person who has returned from South Africa.
November 30: The Federal Council meets for an extraordinary session because of the newly circulating virus variant and outlines tightening of Corona measures.
December 6: Stricter Corona measures apply again throughout Switzerland. The obligation to wear masks and certificates is being expanded. In addition, companies and organizers can introduce a 2G rule. There is also an “urgent” home office recommendation.
December 20: In the fight against the Corona pandemic, the Federal Council extends the 2G rule. It applies to all indoor events and the interiors of restaurants, cultural, sports and leisure facilities.
January 13: Shorter quarantine and extension of the 2G rule: People without symptoms can free themselves from Corona isolation or quarantine after just five days. The Federal Council wants to ensure the smooth operation of the economy. People who received their last dose of vaccination less than four months ago or recovered less than four months ago are exempt from the contact quarantine. To end isolation, a person must remain symptom-free for 48 hours.
January 27: New infections reach their peak with almost 45,000 reported cases of Coronavirus.
February 3: The Federal Council lifts the home office obligation and the contact quarantine. Only the home office recommendation now applies. In addition, the government is planning extensive easing of the other measures. When the omicron wave peaked, all measures and the special requirements should be lifted, in one step or in 3 stages. The earliest suggested date is February 17. Ticino lifts the obligation to wear masks in primary schools.
February 4: The federal government pays for PCR tests for close contacts of infected people.
February 7: The Central Ethics Committee calls for uniform criteria throughout Switzerland when postponing planned interventions in hospitals during times of crisis, such as the pandemic.
February 8: According to the Federal Office of Public Health (BAG), the omicron wave has reached its highest level. That’s why they want to focus more on Long Covid. In 2021 there were 1700 IV registrations due to the long-term consequences of Covid-19. According to the BAG, a corresponding register is again being considered.
February 9: In the consultation, most of the cantons favour lifting the Corona measures in one step. Opinions are divided on the mask requirement.
February 10: The federal government reserves 2000 packs of the Covid 19 drug Xevudy (Sotrovimab).
February 12: Covid-19 infections are down by a third from the previous week. The number of new infections has halved within two weeks.
February 14: Novavax has applied for approval of Novavax’s Corona vaccine candidate Nuvaxovid to Swissmedic. It is the first protein vaccine for which permission is being sought in Switzerland.
February 15: The scientific task force estimates that – including unreported cases – a total of up to 3.6 million people in Switzerland have been infected with the virus, that’s four out of ten.
February 16: The Federal Council primarily lifts the corona protection measures. From February 17, there will no longer be a certificate or mask requirement in shops, restaurants and cultural institutions. The masking requirement in public transport and the five-day isolation for infected people remain.
If you managed to read all the changes and they seemed long to you, remember how long those two years were for all of us.
Were all those measures necessary? How much has our tourism industry suffered from all those restrictions? How much have we changed as people, characters and what did fear do to us?
Guess only time will give an answer to all of those questions.
Let’s hope that this is the last article regarding Corona restrictions, rules, and obligations, but instead, we can all live, work and be free above all.
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