Amid higher case rates than ever seen since the start of the pandemic, the Swiss government will make an announcement on Wednesday regarding Covid measures.
Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maerer gave hope to those wanting to avoid tighter measures, saying “we have high numbers of infections, but the hospitals remain quiet”.
While the situation is serious in some hospitals and ICUs in Switzerland, hospitalisations have not followed a parallel trend alongside case numbers as they did earlier in the pandemic.
As a consequence, it appears the government will not tighten measures on Wednesday, while there is the possibility some may be relaxed further.
The most likely announcement on Wednesday will be a shortening of the quarantine.
While the travel quarantine has been abolished since December, there is still a ten-day isolation requirement for anyone who has tested positive for the virus or who has come into contact with someone who has tested positive.
More than 100,000 people are in quarantine across Switzerland at the moment due to this quarantine, which has already begun to wreak havoc on infrastructure, business and essential services who no longer have enough staff.
Maurer told SRF on Sunday “it is actually appropriate that we reconsider the quarantine period.”
Some cantons have shortened the quarantine from ten days to seven days, while Cantonal Health Directors are pushing for it to be further capped at five days.
Maurer said the quarantine for coming into contact with a positive-tested person should be abolished completely, although there have been no further indications the Swiss government intends to do this.
Sports clubs and restaurants
Maurer also gave hope to bar and restaurant owners and patrons, as well as members of sports clubs or fans of amateur sport, when he told SRF no further tightenings were planned in this area.
Again, Maurer said the most important metric was hospitalisations rather than pure case numbers.
Financial support and help for businesses
Businesses which have been negatively impacted by the pandemic may be entitled to greater support, under possible measures published by Switzerland’s NZZ newspaper.
Currently, in order to receive government Covid support, businesses needed to establish they lost 40 percent in sales.
Under the forecast measures, companies can receive support in paying fixed costs they cannot meet – even if these costs arise in the future.
This can be rent, wages or other costs which cannot be easily adjusted.
Any company which applies for such funds will need to show they have tried to take steps to improve their financial situation while they must also provide evidence of the costs themselves.