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Coronavirus: the situation in Switzerland

© Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The number of new Covid-19 infections continues to fall in Switzerland, as does the number of people being tested. Switzerland announced the lifting of all Covid-19 restrictions as of April 1, 2022. 

This content was published on February 3, 2023 - 08:26
  • The number of new lab-confirmed Covid infections has fallen considerably, as the federal authorities no longer cover the costs of tests since January 1, 2023. The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) says it expects to see a "corresponding reduction in the volumes of tests conducted and increases in the estimated numbers of unrecorded cases".
  • Consequently, SWI has decided to no longer provide an update of weekly Covid infections or related graphics until further notice. For more information on the latest Covid statistics in Switzerland, please consult the FOPH site “COVID-19 Switzerland”External link
  • Travellers from China entering Switzerland will not be required to undergo compulsory testing for COVID-19, the Swiss government said on January 11. The Omicron variants circulating in China posed "only a small risk to the Swiss population and the Swiss health system," it said.
  • The Swiss authorities have recommendedExternal link that people aged over 16, especially the most vulnerable, get a Covid-19 booster shot to contain a new wave of infections expected this autumn and winter.
  • All remaining Covid prevention measures were lifted on April 1, 2022. Masks are no longer required on public transport, and there is no more five-day isolation requirement for positive cases. Health-related restrictions for incoming travellers were lifted in February.
  • More than 13,900 people have died in connection with Covid-19 in Switzerland, which has a population of 8.7 million.
  • Around 69% of the population has received two doses of vaccine.

What’s the virus situation?

The number of newly reported coronavirus infections and hospital admissions started rising again in September 2022 before declining in December. Health officials said at the end October they feared there were a high number of unreported cases. Omicron BA.5 remains the dominant variant.

The number of new lab-confirmed cases has fallen considerably since the new year as the federal authorities no longer cover the costs of tests.

Since April 2022 the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)External link communicates Covid statistics only once a week. Delays in data transmission and retroactive corrections may explain some discrepancies in the figures.

In summer the president of the Swiss Conference of Cantonal Health Directors, Lukas Engelberger, said he expected an increase in the number of cases with the arrival of the cold season. But he told BlickExternal link the pandemic situation would be better this year due to better preparation and stronger immunity in the community. 

Around 97% of the Swiss population (8.7 million) have developed antibodies against the virus via vaccination or infection.

However, the long-term consequences of the pandemic continue to cause concern. Out of 100 Covid patients, 25 have not recovered six months later and three still suffer from serious persistent health problems. The main reported long Covid symptoms are fatigue, mental stress, shortness of breath, loss of taste and smell, concentration and memory problems as well as chest or other pains.

Longer-term, the coronavirus will most likely not disappear, the government has said, but become endemic with seasonal waves likely in future.

Latest health measures

Since April 1, 2022, there have been no pandemic restrictions in Switzerland. On March 30, 2022, the government announced that the last remaining measures would be dropped, specifically the mask requirement in public transport and health facilities, and the mandatory five-day isolation requirement after a positive test.

Since February 17, 2022, people no longer have to show a Covid certificate to enter bars, restaurants and other indoor venues such as sports facilities, theatres or concert halls. There is also no further restrictions on the size of private gatherings, while large events no longer have to apply for authorisation.

Authorities continue to advise people to observe the applicable rules on hygiene and social distancing. 

Responsibility for containing the virus has been handed over to cantonal authorities, with a phase of heightened vigilance planned through winter 2022-2023

Vaccination and treatment

The Swiss authorities recommend that people aged over 16, especially the most vulnerable, get a Covid-19 booster shot to contain new infections this autumn and winter. In July the authorities recommended that over-80s and vulnerable people should get a second booster. 

For anyone aged 16-64 without risk factors, a booster vaccination “makes sense after individual assessment… to reduce the risk of a serious and rare infection”, the Federal Office of Public Health said.

Around 69% of the population have been fully vaccinated (two doses).

So far, four vaccines have been approved: Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, both of which have also been approved for use on children (age five and above) and teenagers; the single-dose Janssen vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson; and the protein-based Nuvaxovid vaccine, approved in April 2022.

Medical regulator Swissmedic is also examining the application for authorisation of a bivalent vaccine from Moderna, which aims to be more effective against the new Omicron variants as well as protecting against the original variants.

Authorities ordered 36 million doses from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Curevac and Novavax for the population of 8.7 million. In August 2021, the government signed a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech to supply vaccines for the next two years.

Since January 1, 2023, anyone who takes a Covid test must pay for it themselves. Health insurance will cover the test costs only in individual cases – namely if a positive test leads to medical treatment.

Travel to and from Switzerland 

On May 2, 2022, Switzerland lifted all remaining Covid-related entry requirements for travellers entering the country, regardless of country of origin. 

Since February 17, health-related measures for people entering the country have also been liftedExternal link. It is no longer necessary to provide proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test or complete an entry form.

The official government TravelcheckExternal link programme and the SEMExternal link website have detailed information on who is allowed to enter Switzerland and under which conditions. The FOPH also provides up-to-date informationExternal link.

Swiss travellers planning to go abroad are advised to check entry conditions in their destination country or region. The foreign ministry has guidelines around travelling abroad during the pandemic, availableExternal link in German, French, and Italian.

What’s the situation for Swiss citizens living abroad?

Anyone who has a Swiss passport or a valid Swiss residence permit can enter Switzerland at any time.

Under the Swiss Abroad Act,External link Swiss nationals living abroad cannot claim the right to an organised departure from a crisis area.

All Swiss representations abroad remain accessible to Swiss citizens, as does the foreign ministry helplineExternal link.

Swiss nationals living abroad, their immediate family (spouse, children, parents and parents-in-law living in the same household) and cross-border commuters without compulsory healthcare insurance can get vaccinated in Switzerland. The cost of vaccination is covered by the federal authorities.

Where can I find further information on the implications of Covid-19?

SWI swissinfo.ch is keeping this story updated regularly with numbers of confirmed cases and deaths, as well as any new significant measures taken by the cantonal and federal authorities.

Unfortunately, we cannot research and answer individual questions. Please check the following official federal websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Infoline for people travelling to Switzerland: +41 58 464 44 88 (6am–11pm)

The State Secretariat for MigrationExternal link: updated information on the situation at Swiss borders, with a helpline to answer questions about reasons for the refusal of entry into Switzerland and exceptions.

The Swiss foreign ministryExternal link: information in French, German and Italian about the situation regarding foreign travel and the steps to be followed by Swiss citizens going abroad. 

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)External link: live updates of the national situation, as well as recommendations, public safety measures, and details of upcoming announcements.

The World Health Organization (WHO)External link: information on the origins and nature of Covid-19, as well as the global situation and travel advice.

Johns Hopkins UniversityExternal link: a global map that tracks the number of cases and fatalities by country.

Follow SWI swissinfo.ch hereExternal link, on FacebookExternal link, and on TwitterExternal link for timely updates on the situation in Switzerland.

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