'Self-quarantine': Tips for how to have a safe Swiss Christmas
While the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is preparing to release on Sunday a set of recommendations for the holidays, a health expert is providing a glimpse into what guidelines Swiss authorities will release.
Although the number of new coronavirus infections has been steadily declining in recent days, authorities are urging the public to continue being vigilant and respecting health strategies currently in place.
On national level, these measures include a mask requirement for indoors, as well as crowded outdoor spaces, along with the limit on the number of people allowed to gather privately and publicly. Additionally, cantons have introduced their own, more restrictive measures.
Virginie Masserey, head of FOPH’s infection control unit, is recommending these steps to ensure safe holiday celebrations:
Masserey suggests quarantining for a few days, about two weeks before Christmas.
By eliminating contacts with other, potentially contaminated individuals, you will ensure that you won’t inadvertently infect anyone in your family or circle of friends.
Big family celebrations should be postponed until the pandemic is fully under control.
For now, only small groups should gather together, at a safe distance and respecting the maximum numbers established by your canton of residence.
This may mean several small gatherings instead of one huge one.
Out of the house
Whenever possible, gather with your friends and family outdoors.
Weather permitting, you can celebrate in your garden, in a park, or in a forest. But here too you must adhere to the rules on the number of people allowed to congregate in public places.
“We won’t be able to have the kind of large family gatherings that we are used to, but get-togethers in small groups will probably be possible” said Didier Pittet , the head of the infection prevention and control service at Geneva University Hospitals (HUG).
However, Geneva’s Health Minister Mauro Poggia is more optimistic about Christmas.
"We hope that the efforts we are making now will allow us to reap the benefits at the end of the year and that we can ease the measures so that family reunions can still take place”, he said.