Switzerland calls ‘crisis summit’ in bid to avoid second lockdown

The Swiss government will hold a ‘crisis summit’ on Thursday to discuss what steps can be taken to avoid a second lockdown.

Switzerland calls 'crisis summit' in bid to avoid second lockdown
Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The Swiss government has called a ‘crisis meeting’ to determine how a second lockdown can be avoided. 

President Simonetta Sommaruga, Health Minister Alain Berset, Economics Minister Guy Parmelin, President of the Conference of the Cantonal Governments Christian Rathgeb, Lukas Engelberger and Christoph Brutschin, top health and economics directors, will attend the meeting. 

In calling for the 'crisis summit', Sommaruga is hoping to avoid an economically and socially destructive second lockdown, reports Swiss tabloid Blick



According to Blick, the government believes that if numbers continue on their present trajectory, “a new lockdown becomes increasingly likely”. 

On Tuesday October 13th, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) detected a total of 1,445 new cases over the past 24 hours.

Perhaps most concerning for the government was the increases in hospital admissions, with 70 across the past 24 hours. 

While higher case numbers can at least in part be due to more extensive testing, increases in hospitalisation can lead to overflows and higher death rates. 

'Indeed worrying'

At a press conference on Monday, Swiss Health Minister said he was “indeed worried” about the situation, whic was “critical, but under control”. 

“The most important thing is to be careful, to keep your distance and to wear masks,” he said .

Despite the rates, measures have been applied inconsistently across Switzerland. Around half of all cantons do not require masks in shops or supermarkets. 

UPDATE: Where in Switzerland are masks compulsory right now? 

The meeting is set to take place in Bern on Thursday. 



Member comments

  1. The crisis here is only a psychological one. Swiss cumulative mortality hit long term average in week 35 of 2020 (see the graph on That means 2020 is a normal year in terms of deaths. It’s a similar year to 2018. There is no crisis in Switzerland. Not the first time, nor this time.

    If not for the rest of the world losing its collective mind nobody would have noticed anything here, nor in Germany, nor in many other parts of the world, because the absolute numbers are tiny. People have lost all sense of proportion.

    But worse, the Blick article shows how delusional and detached from reality the ruling classes have become in every country. The story of the Emperor’s New Clothes is so appropriate here. They are afraid to point out or acknowledge that COVID is another Swine Flu, it was over-estimated, that it’s not actually a scary or deadly disease, and that the scientists and modellers were completely wrong because the implications of that terrify them more than the destruction they’re creating with lockdowns. They are terrified to implicitly accuse their friends in other governmental leadership positions of doing the wrong thing, so they all jump off the cliff together and take the rest of us with them.

    Yet we can see with our own eyes! Deaths sitting at the flatline. Hospitalisations too. PCR tests have false positives, in fact there are numerous cases where they’ve had enormous FP rates (>10%), so even these few cases are certainly not real. How can anyone have confidence in Sommaruga when she calls a crisis summit over that?

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Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad