SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

COVID-19 RULES

Will Switzerland announce tighter measures on Wednesday?

The Federal Council will announce on Wednesday whether to implement stricter rules to rein in the spread of Omicron variant. This is what’s likely to happen.

Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset buttons his jacket. Image: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset will make a call on new measures on Wednesday. Image: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Federal authorities have consulted with the cantons over the last few days about which current measures should be tightened in view of the skyrocketing number of infections caused by Omicron.

But despite some 30,000 new daily cases, the healthcare system is holding up at the moment, and most cantonal officials have spoken in favour of less stringent rules.

This is what’s likely to be announced:

Extension of measures until end of February

An important point is the extension of the measures currently in force, such as the 2G regulations and the obligation to work from home.

Health Minister Alain Berset said they should be maintained until the end of March. The majority of cantons, however, want them lifted a month earlier, on February 28th, provided the epidemiological situation allows it.  

Quarantine

Last week, the Federal Council shortened the duration of quarantine and isolation to five days.

But two-thirds of the cantons prefer to abolish the preventive quarantine for contact cases altogether, and some epidemiologists support this idea as well.

READ MORE: Should Switzerland abolish quarantines and roll back testing for Covid-19?

This is particularly pertinent as testing capabilities and contact tracing are currently severely limited due to the high number of cases.

But it may be too early to take this step, health officials say. “We still have to be very careful. We don’t know how the situation will evolve in the coming weeks”, according to Virginie Masserey, head of the infection control unit at the Federal Department of Public Health.

Certificate validity

The Federal Council is likely to announce the reduction of the validity period of the certificate for vaccinated and recovered people from 365 to 270 days.

This would allow Switzerland to align with European Union’s rules and ensure that the Swiss certificate is accepted in the EU, which is essential for travel.

Hardening

Although the Federal Council said it would order stricter measures, including closings, quickly if the hospitals and intensive care units become saturated, for the moment such drastic measures are not on the horizon”.

READ MORE: Swiss government: Omicron may be ‘beginning of the end’ of pandemic

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

TRAVEL NEWS

Switzerland to drop vaccine requirement for entry from Monday

More than two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel to Switzerland is set to return to normal from May 2nd.

Switzerland to drop vaccine requirement for entry from Monday

Despite winding back all Covid measures domestically on April 1st, Switzerland still required visitors from non-European countries to be vaccinated against Covid. 

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Migration said on Twitter late in late April that all remaining entry rules would be scrapped from Monday, May 2nd. 

What were the rules? 

Up until May 2nd, visitors from the EU/EFTA zone can enter Switzerland without needing to show a vaccination or a test. Those from outside the bloc however need to show either proof of vaccination or recovery, or fit into other exception categories, including being under 18. 

This created a somewhat contradictory situation where Switzerland has some of the most relaxed rules in Europe domestically, but a stricter entry framework than many of its neighbours. 

‘Travelcheck’: This tool shows you what you need to enter Switzerland

As a consequence, Swiss tourism authorities warned that travellers from outside Europe, particularly those from the United States, China, India and the United Kingdom, are taking their tourist dollars elsewhere. 

The Swiss Tourism Association STV submitted a formal request in March that the laws be changed, saying they had put Switzerland at a disadvantage. 

How do I know which rules apply?

One of the most important elements to consider with regard to Covid entry rules is that the country where you reside rather than your nationality is the most important aspect. 

Therefore, if you are an American living in France under the current rules, you can enter without showing proof of vaccination, as you are considered to be entering from France. 

With rules constantly changing and official sources sometimes slow to keep up, the best way to determine the rules which apply in your specific case is the Swiss government’s ‘Travelcheck’ website. 

This is available here. 

The site will ask you certain questions about your situation, although no personal details are required. 

You will then receive a tailored response with advice on your entry situation. 

An extensive set of FAQs is available on the Swiss government website here

SHOW COMMENTS