Will Switzerland shorten Covid quarantine to five days?

A person stands on wooden floorboards with bare feet
Will Switzerland shorten its quarantine requirement? Photo by Barthelemy de Mazenod on Unsplash
Despite rising case numbers, Swiss scientists and business experts have called for a shortening in the country’s Covid quarantine to ward off damaging economic impacts.

As at December 29th, approximately 90,000 people are in a ten-day quarantine in Switzerland for Covid. 

Currently, the ten-day quarantine can be ended on the seventh day with a negative PCR or antigen test.

Only those who are not fully vaccinated need to quarantine, although some cantons have further tightened this requirement so that only those who have received a booster shot can avoid the isolation requirement. 

While the travel quarantine was abolished at the start of December, a quarantine requirement remains in place for those who test positive for the virus or who come into contact with someone who has. 

Even people who do not have symptoms are required to stay inside for ten days, which could potentially mean hundreds of thousands have to isolate if infection numbers continue to rise. 

The Swiss government has forecast a collapse in the country’s social infrastructure should this take place. 

Experts have also warned of the negative social consequences of isolation on members of the public. 

Only a small risk of further infections

Swiss epidemiologist Marcel Tanner told news outlet 20 Minutes that there is only a minimal risk of passing on the virus after five days. 

“In view of the current package of measures with vaccination and booster, it has been seen that a long quarantine period does not help much epidemiologically and therefore in the risk-benefit assessment.”

Jan-Ebert Sturm, the Vice President of the government’s scientific task force, said a better balance needs to be struck between not overwhelming the country’s hospitals while also ensuring parts of the economy do not again shut down. 

“By trying to slow down the scale of the wave on the one hand so as not to overwhelm our health system, and on the other hand we need staff in socially important areas to maintain social life (we can strike that balance),” Sturm told 20 Minutes. 

Roland A. Müller, Director of the Employers’ Association, said his organisation was in constant talks with the government to shorten the requirement and expects a change to take place. 

“We expect that the quarantine will either be shortened or that exception rules will be issued for certain professions and industries outside of the healthcare sector.”

More information on Switzerland’s Covid quarantine is available here. 

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