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HEALTH

What to expect from the Swiss government’s lockdown meeting on Wednesday

The Swiss government is set to meet with cantonal authorities on Wednesday to discuss another nationwide lockdown. According to a leaked report, this is what the lockdown could look like.

What to expect from the Swiss government's lockdown meeting on Wednesday
Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Despite only days ago ruling out another complete lockdown, spiralling case numbers all across Switzerland has seen the government put the issue back on the table. 

A report leaked to Swiss tabloid Blick – and covered extensively elsewhere in the Swiss media – shows that a range of tougher measures are being considered at the federal level. 

From expanding mask requirements to severe restrictions on groups and events, the lockdown rules are reminiscent of those adopted during the first wave of the virus in the spring. 

According to Swiss media, the measures are to be communicated to the cantons at a meeting on Wednesday, October 28th. 

There is no indication yet as to when the measures would be implemented – or for how long they would be in place. 

Here’s what you need to know about the proposed federal rules to be discussed at Wednesday's meeting

Mask requirement to be expanded

Just over a week after Switzerland expanded mask rules to all publicly accessible indoor areas, the federal government is considering expanding the rules. 

Masks should be worn in all residential areas (Siedlungsgebieten). While this would not include the forest, it would cover all residential areas, i.e. parts of towns and cities. 

Masks would also be required in all publicly accessible indoor spaces, such as markets, waiting areas for buses and trains, etc. 

People at restaurants would still be allowed to remove their masks when sitting down to eat. 

Masks would also be required at the workplace – including all offices – unless one cannot be worn for safety reasons. 

Curfew for restaurants 

Restaurants and bars would be forced to close from 10pm to 6am. 

Guests must sit and can only eat or drink at the table. A maximum of four people can sit at each table, excluding children. 

Events

There would be a limit of 50 people for all public events.

Private events

Groups of more than 15 people would not be allowed to meet under the proposed rules. 

According to Blick, this includes all private events such as birthdays and weddings. 

No disco

Clubs and discos would be forced to close, while dancing would be prohibited. 

School's out

Universities and secondary schools would again be forced to return to distance learning. 

Sports

Contact sports would be prohibited, while sports without physical contact would not be allowed to have more than 15 participants, with the exception of professional sports. 

According to Blick, masks would need to be worn during indoor sports and during outdoor sports unless distance can be maintained. 

The newspaper writes “A mask must be worn indoors and the distance must be maintained. A mask must be worn outdoors if the distance cannot be maintained. The professional league operation remains permissible.”

Rehearsals and concerts

Rehearsals and concerts with more than 15 people would be prohibited under the new rules. 

For those with fewer than 15 people, masks must be worn. Concerts with singing – such as choirs – are completely prohibited. 

 

Member comments

  1. Meanwhile, no action has been taken to hold accountable those responsible for the virus. Large banks and multinationals are Stumm. A Reparations tax should be imposed to pay for the utter devastation that has been caused either by accident (internal travel ban but not foreign travel during the New Year celebrations) or deblieratly done to destroy the Western Economies.

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HEALTH

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
 

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