On 19 January 2022, Switzerland’s government announced an extension of its Covid-19 measures, citing strain on hospitals.
The requirement to work from home will stay in place until the end of February, as well as the rules on contact quarantine, said the Federal Council.
The ‘2G’ and ‘2G plus’ rule for certain indoor settings, the extended mask requirement in indoor settings, the ‘3G’ rule for outdoor events with over 300 people, and restrictions on private gatherings will apply until the end of March.
On 17 December 2021, the Swiss government imposed tighter restrictions, including the ‘2G’ and ‘2G plus’ rule in certain indoor settings, restrictions on private gatherings and a requirement to work from home. These measures were set to expire on 24 January 2022.
In view of the continuing strained situation in hospitals, the Federal Council, after consulting the cantons, social partners, parliamentary committees and relevant associations, decided to extend the requirement to work from home until the end of February, and the remaining measures until the end of March 2022.
The cantons generally came out in favour of extending the validity of the measures. The Federal Council said it will continually monitor whether developments allow measures to be lifted at an earlier date. At its meeting on 2 February, it will discuss a possible easing of measures.
Contact quarantine limited to the end of February
Following the consultation, the Federal Council has also decided to limit contact quarantine until the end of February. The Federal Council significantly shortened the quarantine period on 12 January. It now only applies to persons who live in the same household as someone who has tested positive, or who has had close contact in other ways. The risk of infection in these cases remains high, it said. Quarantine significantly helps to prevent people from transmitting the virus, such as in the workplace. People who have been vaccinated or have recovered in the last four months are also exempted from contact quarantine, said the government.
Validity of Covid certificate shortened to 270 days
The Federal Council is shortening the validity period of all vaccination certificates from 365 to 270 days from 31 January 2022. This ensures that the Swiss certificate continues to be recognised in the EU. Certificates issued as proof of recovery from COVID-19 will also only be valid for 270 days.
Amended rules on testing to enter Switzerland
From Saturday, 22 January 2022, those who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from Covid-19 will no longer be required to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test before entering Switzerland. Those who are not vaccinated or who have not recovered from Covid-19 will still have to take tests to enter the country.
However, due to limited testing capacity, travellers will no longer be required to take follow-up tests four to seven days after arriving, meaning that the ‘3G’ rule applies to enter Switzerland. The Passenger Locator Form (PLF) will only have to be completed by those travelling to Switzerland by plane or on a long-distance bus service.
Recording of contact details dropped
From 25 January 2022, clubs, discos and certain indoor events with unrestricted access for up to 50 people will no longer need to record contact details.
No change to mask requirement
The Federal Council decided not to make any further changes regarding rules on isolation, stricter mask requirements or a ban on face-to-face teaching at higher education institutions. It has also decided against tightening the national rules for large events, such as compulsory seating when eating/drinking or capacity restrictions, as requested by several cantons.
New prioritisation for PCR tests
Due to the high demand for tests and stretched laboratory capacity, the Federal Office of Public Health recommends the cantons prioritise the handling of PCR tests. Those at high risk with symptoms or who have had contact with someone who has tested positive are top priority, followed by tests in healthcare institutions (hospitals and clinics, retirement and care homes), those working for critical infrastructure, people with symptoms, pool tests at schools, pool tests in the workplace. Tests for professional or private travel and to obtain a test certificate will be last in line. From 24 January 2022, it will be possible on a temporary basis to obtain a Swiss certificate proving recovery from Covid-19 based on a positive rapid antigen test.