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COVID-19 ALERT

UPDATE: Swiss to end quarantine and working from home obligation from Wednesday

Switzerland's quarantine rules and obligation to work from home will come to an end from Wednesday, February 2nd.

Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset has announced a range of relaxations in the Covid measures for Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset has announced a range of relaxations in the Covid measures for Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset announced the change at a press conference on Friday, January 28th. 

“We are in a good situation today. We can take steps forward” Berset said. 

Switzerland will remove the obligation to work from home which has been in place since late 2021. 

The quarantine rules will also be relaxed. 

The plan has currently been sent out to the cantons for consultation, however it is expected to be formalised from Wednesday onwards. 

The announcement comes despite Switzerland continually hitting record numbers of new Covid infections over the past few weeks.

READ MORE: Covid: One in ten Swiss infected in past week

Fortunately, hospitalisations and ICU admissions remain low, which experts believe is due to the less virulent nature of the Omicron variant, which now accounts for 90 percent of new infections. 

What are the measures being relaxed?

Under Switzerland’s current quarantine rules, those suspected to be infected with Covid must quarantine for five days. 

This measure applies to those with a ‘close contact’ to someone who has tested positive. Close contact is defined as “people who stay under the same roof and regularly use shared living space over a longer period of time”. 

This measure will be relaxed from Wednesday, February 2nd for fully vaccinated or recovered people. 

The isolation rule however will not be relaxed. This rule requires all of those who have tested positive for Covid to isolate (regardless of vaccination status). 

The obligation to work from home will also come to an end. This requirement, put in place on December 20th, required everyone who can work from home to do so all across Switzerland. 

READ MORE: What is Switzerland’s working from home obligation?

As of February 2nd, while working from home will still be recommended, it will no longer be required. 

Official measures are laid out here by the Swiss government

No ‘freedom day’ for Switzerland

Berset however said he wanted to avoid the term ‘Freedom Day’ for February 2nd. The term, which has been used in the United Kingdom, has been favoured by several Swiss politicians, particularly on the conservative end of the political spectrum. 

“It’s a warlike expression, other countries have thrown it around, not Switzerland.”

“It could be a happy day. Or happy days.” said Berset.

When asked about whether this signalled an end of the pandemic, Berset said he was cautiously optimistic. 

“Something can always happen. But the prospects are good.”

Berset also said there were no plans to get rid of the Covid certificate requirement at this stage. 

“The obligation to obtain a certificate applies worldwide. Being able to travel is also a certain form of freedom.”

Several politicians, particularly from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party, have called for an end to the Covid certificate requirement. 

READ MORE: Should Switzerland abolish the Covid certificate?

While this is at this stage unlikely, there have been some indications the requirement could be relaxed. 

According to a report in Switzerland’s SonntagsZeitung newspaper from Sunday, January 30th, which the newspaper said is based on information received from federal authorities, the Covid certificate requirement in indoor venues like cafes and restaurants, as well as other places and events where it is currently compulsory, would be relaxed from February 16th.

The limit on the number of participants in private settings would also be lifted on that day, according to the report. Only the masks and testing of symptomatic people would reportedly remain compulsory under the plan.

These changes are set to be announced on February 2nd, SonntagsZeitung said, and would be implemented two weeks later, after a consultation with cantons.

More information about the plan is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: Could Switzerland lift its Covid measures by February 16th?

Member comments

  1. Are the rules ending Feb 2? Your other article says « If the epidemiological situation allows it, the government will end some current coronavirus measures, such as and the obligation to work from home and the quarantine rules on February 2nd. ». This is confusing. Which article is correct?

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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