Coronavirus: the situation in Switzerland
New restrictions have been introduced in Switzerland as cases soar and pressure grows on hospitals amid the spread of the Omicron variant.
- Switzerland will extend until the end of February coronavirus quarantine and work-from-home rules and plans to keep until the end of March other curbs on public life it tightened last month, the government announcedExternal link on January 19.
- From January 22, people who are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 no longer need to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test before entering Switzerland. People who are not vaccinated or who have not recovered will still need to take a test to enter the country. However, travellers will no longer need to take a second test taken four to seven days after entering the country.
- Switzerland is currently undergoing a fifth wave of the pandemic, with the number of new daily coronavirus infections reaching unprecedented highs due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant: 37,992 new cases were reported on January 21 for the previous 24-hour period. Hospital admissions are stable. A total of 240 Covid-19 patients are in intensive care.
- Virginie Masserey of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said on Tuesday that the Omicron wave, responsible for 90% of new infections in Switzerland, had stagnated at a high level. New infections are mainly affecting young people and workers. Canton Ticino and Lake Geneva are currently the worst-affected regions. Masserey said the number of cases would probably increase but more slowly.
- On January 12External link, to prevent the economy falling victim to staff shortages, the government decided to shorten the quarantine and isolation periods to five days, with only those people in close contact with an infected person subject to the rules.
- Since December 20External link, only people who have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 are able to go inside restaurants, cultural, sporting and leisure venues and attend indoor events (the so-called “2G rule”). A requirement to work from home has also been reintroduced. Private gatherings are limited to ten people if there is one person from age 16 present who is unvaccinated or has not recovered from Covid-19.
- Swiss health officials have recommended an extension of booster jabs, which started with the most vulnerable, to anyone aged 12 or over, preferably with the mRNA Pfizer/Biontech vaccine. Around 68% of the population has received two doses of vaccine. Some three million people have received a booster shot.
- More than 12,100 people have died in connection with Covid-19 in Switzerland, which has a population of 8.6 million.
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