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Fully vaccinated people to be exempt from quarantine in Switzerland

Those who have had their Covid shots will soon be exempted from having to quarantine, Swiss officials say. Here’s what we know about the plan.

Fully vaccinated people to be exempt from quarantine in Switzerland
Under certain conditions, vaccinated people will be exempted from quarantine. Photo by SETH HERALD / AFP

People who have received both shots of the vaccine will not have to quarantine after being in contact with an infected person, according to Christoph Berger, president of the Federal Commission for Vaccination Issues. 

Up to now, anyone who has been exposed to the virus must quarantine for 10 days, although this period can be shortened to seven days if a Covid test is negative.

As yet, this does not apply to quarantines put in place for people returning from ‘high risk’ areas. This may follow at a later date, Swiss media reports

READ MORE: Which countries are currently on Switzerland’s quarantine list?

There are, however, some conditions attached to the quarantine exemption:

Only people inoculated with a mRNA vaccine will be able to benefit from this measure. 

Swiss health experts believe that vaccines based on this technology, “are very effective and also very safe”, Steve Pascolo, an immunologist at Zurich’s university hospital, said in an interview.

And as both vaccines currently used in Switzerland – Moderna and Pfizer/Biontech — are based on mRNA technology, this particular criteria is easy to meet.

Fourteen days must pass after the second vaccination before you can be exempted from the quarantine.

That’s because it typically takes about two weeks for the body to build up sufficient immunity. Before that, you can, at least in theory, still become contaminated with the virus.

Only people who have been vaccinated no longer than six months can forego quarantine. 

Little is known at this point about the duration of the post-vaccine immunity.

Researchers believe it lasts at least six months, maybe longer. But to be on the safe side, authorities set six months as a cut-off date for people to take advantage of the eased measure. 

“After the six months have elapsed, according to the current state of knowledge, the protective effect can no longer be proven beyond doubt”, Berger said.

“The regular evaluation of the data will show whether the duration of the quarantine exemption can be extended,” he added.

The exemption doesn’t cover travel-related quarantine.

For the time being, the new regulation will extend only to those who have been in contact with an infected person. 

Travellers coming to Switzerland from countries at risk will still have to quarantine because “the procedure for travel quarantine has not yet been regulated”,  Berger said.

You will need a confirmation of vaccination, including dates, to qualify for the exemption. 

If you are ordered to quarantine, this document — which every vaccinated person in Switzerland automatically receives —  can be used to prove your status.

The new rule is not in effect yet. 

However, the plan “will be finalised in the next few days and can then be implemented by the cantons”, Berger said on Tuesday, April 20th.  

READ MORE: Switzerland to remove United States and United Kingdom from quarantine list

Member comments

  1. Does that mean that if we are thinking about a vacation at the end of the year or early next year, that it is best to delay vaccination?

  2. Will cross border workers be excluded from quarantine irrespective of the type of vaccination they have had?

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Switzerland to cut quarantine period for vaccinated and extend current measures

Switzerland will shorten the obligatory quarantine for anyone testing positive for Covid to five days, while extending the current measures until at least March. The duration of immunity for the Covid certificate will also be shortened.

Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset gestures during a press conference.. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset gestures during a press conference.. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Switzerland on Wednesday announced a range of changes to the existing Covid measures. 

As had been widely reported ahead of the announcement, the Covid quarantine period for positive cases was shortened from the current ten days to five for vaccinated and recovered people. 

People can leave quarantine after five days, provided they are symptom free for 48 hours. Based on the new advice, it does not appear a person needs to test negative – although the government has been contacted for a confirmation on this question. 

EXPLAINED: Why did Switzerland relax Covid quarantine rules?

The quarantine change applies both to people who have tested positive and those who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive. 

“Close contact” will also be redefined. Now it will not include everyone someone with Covid has had contact with, but will be limited to the people they live with and people who had “regular and close” contact with a person who tested positive. 

The close contact quarantine will not apply to people who have had a booster in the past four months, but it will apply to those who have had two doses.

The unvaccinated will need to remain in quarantine for the original ten days. 

Cantons can decide to grant exemption to the quarantine rules. 

The duration of immunity under the rules of Switzerland’s Covid certificate will be reduced from one year to 270 days, i.e. nine months.

This is due to the belief that immunity due either to vaccination or recovery declines earlier than previously thought. 

The 270-day requirement applies to those who are fully vaccinated or to people who have previously had the virus.

This shortening of the time period for the validity of the Covid certificate will apply from February 1st, as with the EU’s rules for international travel. 

The current Covid measures, which are outlined in the link below, will also be extended. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s current Covid measures?

While they were set to expire on January 24th, they will now be extended until March 31st. 

The government said the extension was necessary due to the situation in the country’s hospitals. 

Amid skyrocketing infection rates, the Swiss government said it had prepared additional measures which could be implemented quickly and immediately if the situation required it. 

“Should the situation in hospitals deteriorate significantly, the Federal Council can still act swiftly by imposing stricter measures such as the closure of facilities and institutions or by limiting capacity at large-scale events, regardless of the consultation,” the government said in a press release

The government is currently in consultation with experts and the cantons about these and further measures, including tighter mask rules and a change in testing rules.

This consultation will last until the 17th of January, however those listed here are expected to apply. 

For the full list of changes announced you can visit the government site HERE.