Switzerland: Pressure grows to relax Covid measures

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Switzerland: Pressure grows to relax Covid measures
Is it time for Switzerland to phase out Covid measures? Photo: ERWIN SCHERIAU / APA / AFP

Despite skyrocketing Covid numbers, Switzerland’s hospitals and all-important ICUs remain relatively stable. Voices calling for a relaxation of Covid measures are growing louder.


On Wednesday, January 26th, Switzerland recorded 43,199 confirmed Covid cases. This is the first time the number of confirmed cases has crossed 40,000. 

Despite this grim milestone however, Swiss experts believe the actual number of daily infections to be above 100,000 - with an estimated ten percent of the population getting infected over the previous week. 

READ MORE: One in ten Swiss infected in past week

While such a rapid increase remains a cause for concern, the increase in cases has not been accompanied by a similar rise in hospitalisations and ICU admissions. 

The situation in Switzerland’s hospitals remains serious but steady, according to recent reports. 

This is largely due to the lower potency of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, which represents 90 percent of new cases across Switzerland. 

Most notably, despite the spread of the new variant, only a handful of people have been admitted to hospital due to the Omicron variant. 

READ MORE: Reasonably optimistic’: Are Switzerland’s Covid hotspots cooling down at last?

As a result, calls are growing for the remaining measures to be dropped in Switzerland. 

Swiss hospitality groups Expo-Event and Gastrosuisse have called for the declaration of February 2nd as ‘Freedom Day’, whereby the existing measures are lifted. 

Andri Silberschmidt, from the Free Democrats, has called for a relaxation of the Covid certificate to again allow ‘3G’ rules, i.e. negatively tested people to again attend bars, restaurants and events. 

Silberschmidt, aged 27, also called for the mask mandates and the Covid certificate only to apply to people aged 25 and over. 

His counterpart Hans-Ulrich Bigler said the changes should go even further, including the abolition of the country’s Covid task force. 


Member’s of Switzerland’s right-wing Swiss People’s Party have also called for a relaxation, including the complete abolition of the Covid certificate. 

Jürg Grossen, President of the Green Liberals, said such changes were hasty and neglected to acknowledge the unpredictability of the pandemic up until this point. 

"We have learned in this pandemic that it almost always turns out differently than expected."

Martin Bäumle, also of the Green Liberals, said the currently stable situation was due to the measures. 

"One thing is certain: If you relax the measures now, the numbers will rise again.”

Franziska Ryser, of the Greens, said the “worst thing for the hospitality industry would be for them to stop after getting started again”. 


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