Switzerland’s health authority says it expects mask wearing may be necessary for several years in Switzerland.
The reason for longer term mask wearing is the risk posed by unvaccinated people. In a memo to cantonal health authorities, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said that even after the vaccine has been offered to everyone it is concerned that infection could spread among the unvaccinated and lead to overloaded hospitals.
In addition, the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force has suggested extended mask wearing may be necessary to avoid a fourth wave of infections, according to the Tages Anzeiger.
Some have reacted negatively to the suggestion. Ruth Humbel from the parliamentary health commission thinks vaccinated people should not have their freedoms restricted. Instead private establishments, such as restaurants, should refuse entry to those who are unvaccinated while public services remain open to everyone.
Beat Walti from the PLR (FDP) thinks that while there should be no question that each person has the right to not be vaccinated they should bear the responsibility in the case of infection.
Jürg Utzinger, a tropical disease expert, thinks if all the protective measures were suddenly dropped there is a big danger of infecting the unvaccinated. Utzinger points to Israel as an example. Israel, which has vaccinated most of its population and has a similar population to Switzerland, still has a higher rate of infection than Switzerland – Israel’s 7-day average daily new cases are currently around 1,600.
Christoph Berger, head of the federal vaccination commission, said that if half of the population is vaccinated by summer, the other half would remain exposed to the virus and the hospitals would risk reaching their limits again.
Tages Anzeiger article (in German)