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Switzerland plans to further phase-out Covid restrictions before summer

The Swiss government says seating limits at restaurants could rise from June 28.
The Swiss government says seating limits at restaurants could rise from June 28. Keystone / Ennio Leanza

The government has announced plans to ease entry restrictions for people wanting to visit Switzerland from the end of this month. It also wants to further open up public life as the virus situation continues to improve.

“We are making progress,” Swiss President Guy Parmelin told reporters in Bern on Friday. “We can sense a light at the end of the tunnel.”

On Friday, the government outlined another raft of easing measures. According to its proposalExternal link, visitors to Switzerland from non-Schengen countries should be allowed to enter the country from June 28 without testing if they have been fully vaccinated or recovered from a coronavirus infection.

The government also wants the quarantine requirement to be lifted for people travelling in Europe’s 26-nation Schengen area (including Switzerland). A test would remain mandatory only for people who have not been vaccinated or whose cure has not been confirmed. Contact details would still be required only for air entry and not for travellers entering Switzerland by train or car from the Schengen area.

The government said on Friday that Covid controls at Swiss borders would now only focus on people entering from countries with worrying mutations of the virus. The list of regions at risk drawn up so far by the Federal Office of Public HealthExternal link has been reduced and only contains countries and areas with circulating virus variants of concern for Switzerland.


More re-opening measures

The government is also proposing a long list of re-opening measuresExternal link, including abolishing the requirement to wear masks in public, at upper secondary schools and at work.

It suggests that seating limits at restaurants could rise from June 28 and discos and nightclubs could reopen to people with Covid certificates, which were officially launched in Switzerland on June 7.  Shops, recreational areas and sports venues would also be allowed to raise their capacity from June 28, according to the proposal.

The government wants to harmonise the number of people allowed to meet at large events where a Covid certificate is required: up to 3,000 indoors and up to 5,000 outdoors. For seated events without a certificate, such as the cinema, theatre or a football match, up to 1,000 people may attend. If people are moving around with no seating, only 250 may attend. Other specific rules and requirements may apply depending on the situation.

These plans were put out to consultationExternal link on Friday; a final decision will be made on June 23.


Improving Covid situation

The proposals come as the Covid situation continues to improve in the Alpine country. The seven-day average of new daily cases is down to 404, a 37% drop compared with the previous week. On Friday, the 14-day incidence stood at 77 new infections per 100,000 residents, while the reproduction (R-value) was 0.67.

“We are advancing step by step, but we are advancing well,” said Interior Minister Alain Berset. He said the number of new infections had fallen by half over the past month. A similar drop had been observed for the number of hospitalised Covid patients.

The vaccination rollout meanwhile continues to accelerate, reaching between 60,000-90,000 jabs a day. Over 5.8 million Covid-19 doses were administered between late December and June 9. Over 25% of the population are fully vaccinated.


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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR