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COVID-19 RULES

UPDATE: What further Covid measures could Switzerland remove on Wednesday?

The Swiss government is scheduled to make its next Covid announcement on Wednesday afternoon. According to leaked information, several measures may be relaxed.

Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset on the telephone while wearing a mask. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset on the telephone while wearing a mask. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Almost two years since the start of the pandemic, there is some good news thanks the combined impact of vaccination and the lower virulence of the Omicron variant. 

Despite higher than ever infection rates, the country’s hospitals and ICUs are stable and as a result the government looks set to further reduce Covid measures. 

The announcement will be made some time after 3pm in Bern.

What measures are set to fall? 

The obligation to work from home and the five-day contact quarantine requirement are both set to fall on Wednesday afternoon – this is already clear on the basis of government statements and leaked information 

During a visit to Aarau on Tuesday, Health Minister Alain Berset already promised these measures would be removed immediately. 

More information about these measures and how they will be relaxed is available at the following link. 

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

However, Swiss news outlet Tages Anzeiger reports that further measures may be set to fall 

Berset is set to present two possible options to the cantons on Wednesday, which will then be sent out for consultation before a decision is made in the coming days. 

The first is a significant relaxation of the current rules on a step-by-step basis over a set time period, while the second would be a more complete end to all Covid measures. 

The Covid certificate requirement in indoor venues like cafes and restaurants, as well as other places and events where it is currently compulsory, could be relaxed from February 16th.

The limit on the number of participants in private settings would also be lifted on the 16th, according to the report. 

Another possible relaxation will be capacity restrictions on large events. Swiss media reports that not only would capacity restrictions be scrapped, but permits and health and safety concepts would no longer be needed for large events. 

Only the masks and testing of symptomatic people would reportedly remain compulsory under the plan – although Swiss tabloid Blick reports that even this is up for consideration. 

A relaxation of the mask rules could start in areas like bars and restaurants, with further relaxations in public transport and supermarkets coming in at a later date. 

Several experts have weighed into the debate, saying relaxations of the mask rules should take place but that the government should be cautious about removing too many rules too quickly. 

READ MORE: When will Switzerland relax mask rules?

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TRAVEL NEWS

Switzerland to drop vaccine requirement for entry from Monday

More than two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, travel to Switzerland is set to return to normal from May 2nd.

Switzerland to drop vaccine requirement for entry from Monday

Despite winding back all Covid measures domestically on April 1st, Switzerland still required visitors from non-European countries to be vaccinated against Covid. 

Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Migration said on Twitter late in late April that all remaining entry rules would be scrapped from Monday, May 2nd. 

What were the rules? 

Up until May 2nd, visitors from the EU/EFTA zone can enter Switzerland without needing to show a vaccination or a test. Those from outside the bloc however need to show either proof of vaccination or recovery, or fit into other exception categories, including being under 18. 

This created a somewhat contradictory situation where Switzerland has some of the most relaxed rules in Europe domestically, but a stricter entry framework than many of its neighbours. 

‘Travelcheck’: This tool shows you what you need to enter Switzerland

As a consequence, Swiss tourism authorities warned that travellers from outside Europe, particularly those from the United States, China, India and the United Kingdom, are taking their tourist dollars elsewhere. 

The Swiss Tourism Association STV submitted a formal request in March that the laws be changed, saying they had put Switzerland at a disadvantage. 

How do I know which rules apply?

One of the most important elements to consider with regard to Covid entry rules is that the country where you reside rather than your nationality is the most important aspect. 

Therefore, if you are an American living in France under the current rules, you can enter without showing proof of vaccination, as you are considered to be entering from France. 

With rules constantly changing and official sources sometimes slow to keep up, the best way to determine the rules which apply in your specific case is the Swiss government’s ‘Travelcheck’ website. 

This is available here. 

The site will ask you certain questions about your situation, although no personal details are required. 

You will then receive a tailored response with advice on your entry situation. 

An extensive set of FAQs is available on the Swiss government website here

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