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MASKS

Which masks sold in Switzerland are most and least effective against Covid-19?

Tests carried out in Switzerland show that most masks sold in in the country don’t protect against Covid-19.

Which masks sold in Switzerland are most and least effective against Covid-19?
Most tested masks were shown to be ineffective. Photo by AFP

As the number of coronavirus infections is surging and more cantons are implementing stricter mask rules, tests show that only a small percentage of masks sold in Switzerland are resistant to the virus.

Out of 16 brands of masks analysed by laboratories in Zurich and Vienna, only four were shown to offer sufficient protection against the coronavirus.

The others, including all the fabric masks tested, have failed.

The criteria used to assess the masks’ effectiveness were set by Switzerland’s Covid-19 Task Force and include particle filtration and air permeability.

READ MORE: MAPS: Where are masks mandatory in Switzerland? 

The results were reported this week on RTS public television, which requested the test for its weekly consumer affairs show.

The four masks which proved to be effective are Disposable Face Mask, available from Lidl; Coop’s PM-Plus Medical; Migros’ Medi-Inn; and JINGEAO sold in in SunStore pharmacies.

Their price varies from 62 to 82 cents a piece.

Recently, three other types of masks sold in Switzerland, the so-called KN-95, were also found to be ineffective and had subsequently been recalled. 

How can you know which masks are most effective?

According to Covid-19 Task Force, “masks must offer a sufficient protection against liquid droplets of different sizes produced during coughing or sneezing, They should also have a sufficient air permeability to minimise breathing hindrance and different fitting sizes for adults and children to guarantee an adequate face coverage”. 

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has also published guidelines about the efficacy of various mask models currently available in Switzerland. 

It also explains which types of face coverings should be avoided.

For instance, it says that “infected persons with or without symptoms should not use masks with a vent outlet as they do not filter air that is breathed out and so could lead to the virus spreading”.

 

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IN DETAIL: Which Covid measures will the Swiss government decide to relax on Wednesday?

The Swiss government will announce a further relaxation of coronavirus measures on Wednesday afternoon, including rules relating to travel, masks, sport, restaurants and events. Here's what we know so far.

IN DETAIL: Which Covid measures will the Swiss government decide to relax on Wednesday?
Switzerland looks set to relax mask rules from June 28th. Photo: TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

The Federal Council will announce its decision this afternoon about which coronavirus measures should be further relaxed, with the changes expected to come into place from June 28th. 

The restrictions that the government would relax include upping the number of people allowed to gather together in and outdoors, permitting more people to sit at tables inside restaurants as well as on terraces, and lifting of mask requirements for outdoors.

Vaccinated tourists from third nations will also be allowed to come to Switzerland from next Wednesday.

Authorities have previously said these restrictions will be relaxed if the epidemiological situation and outlook remain good.

Here’s what you need to know. 

Mask rules to be lifted outdoors, in the workplace and at high schools

From June 28th, masks will no longer be required in busy, publicly accessible outdoor areas. 

Masks are currently required outdoors in bus stops, train stations, leisure facilities and on chair lifts. 

Masks will also no longer be required in the workplace. 

READ MORE: Switzerland to lift mask requirement in outdoor areas from June 28th

However, mask rules will remain in place where staff interact with customers, i.e. in retail outlets and restaurants. 

Masks will also no longer be federally required in grammar schools, technical secondary schools and vocational schools.

However, the Federal Council indicated that some cantons may continue the existing mask rules in educational institutions. 

Pubs and restaurants

Capacity restrictions will be loosened at pubs and restaurants. 

While the number of people per table will be raised from four to six, outdoor tables will no longer have an upper limit. 

Rules for mandatory seating will also be lifted in outdoor areas, meaning that people will again be able to drink while standing and move around. 

Pubs and restaurants will still be required to collect contact details and everyone moving around inside will still need to wear a mask. 

Nightclubs and discos open to those with Covid certificates 

Nightclubs and discos will again be allowed to open, although entry will be restricted to those with covid certificates. 

As reported by The Local Switzerland last week, nightclubs are classified as ‘red’ under Switzerland’s covid certificate rules – which means only those who have tested negative, been vaccinated or recovered from the virus will be allowed to attend.

Attendees must demonstrate compliance by bringing a Covid certificate. Click the link below for more information.  

READ MORE: What will Switzerland’s Covid-19 pass allow you to do?

A maximum of 250 people will be allowed to attend, but masks will not be required provided. 

Venues must collect contact details. 

Events to be allowed again

The rules relating to events will also be relaxed. Up to 1000 people can take part in an event without a covid certificate if they are seated, while the maximum for standing events will be 250 people. 

These limits apply both indoors and outdoors. 

Private events can take place without masks with a max of 30 people (indoors) and 50 people (outdoors). 

Sport

Capacity restrictions on outdoor and indoor sport will be wound back, while indoor sports will still be required to have masks provided distance cannot be kept. 

Travel

Quarantine requirements and other entry restrictions will be completely dropped for people entering from the Schengen area. 

Only countries in the Schengen region which have a high prevalence of Covid mutations would face entry restrictions. As at June 23rd, this includes Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Nepal, and the UK.

From outside the Schengen zone, Switzerland is set to open up to vaccinated travellers. 

This includes people from the United States. 

“In view of the positive developments in the epidemiological situation and the progress made in the field of vaccination, the Federal Council is proposing to greatly relax the prescriptions and health measures at the border for people entering Switzerland”, authorities said.

This means not only that there would no longer be any testing or quarantine requirements for vaccinated arrivals for citizens of Schengen area states, but also for those coming from third nations, that is, countries outside the EU / EFLA.

Filling out the passenger locator form will still be obligatory for all passengers arriving by air, but not for those using land transportation.

More information is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: Switzerland set to reopen its borders to vaccinated travellers, including Americans

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