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Swiss health minister ponders end of Covid-19 certificate

A customer presents their Covid-19 certificate at the entrance to a restaurant in Geneva, September 13, 2021. Keystone / Pierre Albouy

Switzerland’s health minister, Alain Berset, says the use of the Covid-19 certificate could soon be over, as the Alpine country appears to be “on the right track” regarding its virus response.

This content was published on January 22, 2022 - 11:28
Keystone-SDA/RTS/sb

“The [Covid-19] certificate period seems to be almost at an end,” Berset told the Schweiz am Wochenende newspaper on Saturday. The certificate – to prove someone has been vaccinated, tested, or recovered from the coronavirus - has been used in Switzerland since last July.

He added that if the virus situation develops positively in the next few weeks the government may “transform the compulsory order to work from home into a recommendation and end quarantines”.

“I think we are on the right track, but the virus has shown itself to be unpredictable on several occasions,” Berset declared.

On January 19 the government cautiously announcedExternal link that it would extend until the end of February coronavirus quarantine and mandatory work-from-home rules. It also tentatively plans to keep until the end of March other curbs on public life it tightened last month.

Since December 20, only people who have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 can enter restaurants, cultural, sporting and leisure venues and attend indoor events (the so-called 2G rule). Private gatherings are limited to ten people if there is one person from age 16 present who is unvaccinated or has not recovered from Covid-19. 

Fifth wave

Switzerland is currently undergoing a fifth wave of the pandemic, with the number of new daily coronavirus infections reaching unprecedented highs due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant: 37,992 new cases were reported on January 21 for the previous 24-hour period.

Despite the spike in new infections, hospital admissions have remained relatively stable, while the number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care has fallen slightly in recent weeks.

Relaxed Covid-19 rules for people entering Switzerland come into force on Saturday. People who are vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 no longer need to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test before entering Switzerland. People who are not vaccinated or who have not recovered will still need to take a test to enter the country. However, travellers will no longer need to take a second test taken four to seven days after entering the country.

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