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Covid-19 quarantine period could be shortened, say experts

Under Swiss regulations, anyone entering Switzerland from one of the countries on a list thought to have a high risk of coronavirus infection must go into quarantine for ten days to help curb the spread of Covid-19, or risk a fine. Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

A group of health experts has recommended shortening the quarantine period from ten days to six or seven for people entering Switzerland from Covid-19 risk countries. Their report has been sent to the government for the final say.

This content was published on October 1, 2020 - 12:04
SRF/RTS/sb

Members of the national Covid-19 taskforce met on Tuesday at the Federal Office of Public Health to discuss the possible shortening of the quarantine period, Swiss public television, SRF, reported.

“We have examined the question from a scientific angle,” epidemiologist Marcel Tanner told SRF. Their conclusions were reportedly sent to the government on Wednesday evening.

Under Swiss regulations, anyone entering Switzerland from one of the countries on a listExternal link thought to have a high risk of coronavirus infection must go into quarantine for ten days to help curb the spread of Covid-19, or risk a fine.

However, there have been pressures from business circles and the travel sector to shorten the quarantine period.

SRF said a study by taskforce member Sebastian Bonhoeffer, a professor at the Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich, concludes that it would be possible to combine a shortened quarantine period with a Covid-19 test.

According to Tanner, the taskforce is proposing to “shorten quarantine in complete safety if we carry out the necessary tests”.

The period could possibly be reduced to seven days, with a test on the sixth day, Tanner said.

Virologist Didier Trono shares their opinion.

“After six or seven days the risk of contagion is much lower. It’s taking a relative risk as zero risk doesn’t exist. It’s a political decision, based on a risk evaluation,” he told Swiss public radio, RTS, on Wednesday.

The final decision will fall to the governing Federal Council. Two weeks ago, Finance Minister Ueli Maurer told SRF that he expected the quarantine period to be shortened for people entering Switzerland from at risk countries.

Similar debates have taken place in Switzerland’s neighbours Germany, France and Italy.

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