Do you need a Covid certificate to go to hospital in Switzerland?
After an unvaccinated woman in Bern was turned away from a hospital emergency department, readers have asked us for the rules for hospital admissions.
Switzerland’s Covid certificate is required to access indoor areas of bars, restaurants, events and other venues.
Under the framework however essential services are not restricted to certificate holders, which refers to supermarkets and pharmacies.
Admission to hospital for patients is also not restricted to Covid certificate holders, although visitors may in some cases be required to have a certificate.
Here’s what you need to know.
What happened in Bern?
In early December, Swiss media outlets broke news of a woman in Bern who had been denied emergency treatment in the Salem Spital as she was unvaccinated.
The woman and her boyfriend called the hospital after she began bleeding from a wound due to complications from an operation.
The woman says a hospital staff member told her she would be unable to be treated as she was unvaccinated.
To check if the refusal was an anomaly, the couple called again, with the man saying he had an injury on his arm which needed to be treated.
Again, they were told that the man needed to be vaccinated in order to attend.
The hospital administration apologised, with Director Daniel Lüscher telling Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes “even in a Covid pandemic, we would not allow something like that to apply”.
What are the rules for hospital admissions?
Anyone admitted to a hospital in Switzerland is not required to have been vaccinated.
However, in order to protect those already in the facility along with the medical workers, most people who are admitted need to be tested upon admission.
Those who test positive will still be treated, however additional care will be taken to ensure the virus does not transmit throughout the facility.
Lüscher said those with a life-threatening case would not be tested until after an emergency procedure was carried out.
“A sprained foot is not a vital procedure. So that would require a test or a valid certificate,” Lüscher said.
The rules may differ for people visiting patients. In some cantons and at some hospitals, visitors will be required to provide a Covid certificate.
This may be the case regardless of next of kin status.
This article has a guide to some of the larger hospitals in Switzerland, although you are advised to check the rules of the particular hospital you are visiting.