Health, 06.12.2021

Federal Council tightens the corona measures

Due to the dramatic increase in number of infections and hospital admissions, the measures in Switzerland will be tightened from Monday, 6 December.

The Federal Council (Bundesrat) currently assesses the corona situation as very critical. The appearance of the Omicron variant represents a new challenge in the fight against the pandemic. It can be assumed that it is highly contagious. The measures will therefore be tightened – as follows:

Extension of the certificate requirement
The certificate greatly reduces the risk of transmission. The certificate obligation now applies indoors for all public events, as well as for all amateur sporting and cultural activities. The existing exception for groups of less than 30 people will be lifted. In addition, a certificate is now required for outdoor events with more than 300 participants. Up to now, the limit was 1,000 participants.

Experience shows that there is a considerable risk of infection in the private sphere. The urgent recommendation to use the certificate for meetings of family and friends in indoor areas will apply in the future from 11 persons. For the Federal Council, it is important that the population is particularly cautious in the private sector, especially at family events.

Extension of the mask requirement
The mask has proven to be a simple and inexpensive means of preventing the transmission of the virus. A mask requirement now applies indoors wherever a certificate obligation applies – with the exclusion of private meetings.

Possibility to limit to 2G
Special care should be taken where wearing a mask is not possible. and substitute measures therefore apply: a seat obligation for consumption in the restaurant, or the collection of contact data for cultural and sports activities such as choir rehearsals or indoor training. All public institutions with a certificate requirement as well as all events indoors and outdoors, also have the option of restricting access to vaccinated and recovered persons (2G) and dispensing with the mask requirement.

Vaccinated and recovered persons are significantly less contagious, and are less likely to experience a severe course of the infection or hospitalisation if they become infected. A voluntary use of the 2G rule was desired in the consultation, among other things because running a business in which seating is compulsory during consumption is not viable, for example, in discos.

"The next step would be quite unpleasant," emphasizes Berset at the media conference.

 

Urgent home office recommendation
In order to reduce contacts at the workplace, an urgent home office recommendation now applies. In addition, all employees must wear a mask indoors if there are a number of people present.

The vast majority of the cantons and the social partners have spoken out against a home office obligation, although a binding regulation would have a stronger epidemiological effect than the recommendation.

Limitation of the validity period of the test certificates
The validity period of the rapid antigen tests is now reduced from 48 hours to 24 hours – i.e. from the time of sampling. The shorter validity increases the validity of the test results; the length of time in which persons with a valid test certificate can become infectious is thereby greatly reduced. PCR tests remain valid for 72 hours.

Waiver of compulsory testing at schools
Following the consultation, the Federal Council has refrained from obliging schools to offer repetitive tests. 17 out of 26 cantons rejected such an obligation. The Federal Council remains convinced of the effectiveness of repetitive tests, however, as these tests can detect infections at an early stage, and the transmission chains can thereby be broken.

In the opinion of the Federal Council, this will also reduce the risk that schools have to be closed or that entire classes will have to change to distance learning.

Entry to Switzerland: quarantine lifted, but testing requirement strengthened
At its meeting, the Federal Council also changed the entry requirements. As of Saturday, 4 December 2021, all countries will be removed from the quarantine list. In order to prevent the introduction of the new Omicron variant as far as possible, a stricter test regime shall apply to all entries into Switzerland.