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Swiss government maintains Covid rules

In September, the government decided to extend the use of the Covid certificate and it wants to maintain the rules to avoid overcapacities in Swiss hospitals. Keystone/Laurent Gillieron

The government wants to ease access to the Covid certificate in Switzerland, but it stopped short of lifting the current certificate requirements.

This content was published on October 20, 2021 - 18:11
swissinfo.ch/urs

Interior Minister Alain Berset said the epidemiological situation was not stable enough at the moment to abolish the restrictions.

“With schools reopening after the autumn break, the cooler season ahead, stagnating case numbers, and given the highly contagious Delta variant and a relatively vaccination rate, it is too early to change our policy,” he told a news conference.

He said the government was taking a calculated risk with its policy, and the aim remained to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by another wave of infections.

He added that Switzerland’s anti-Covid policy is more liberal than in neighbouring countries.

The certificate shows that a person is either vaccinated, has tested negative or had recovered from an infection with the virus.

Adapted certificate

The government proposes facilitating access to the certificate for certain groups of people, notably patients who have recovered from Covid-19 and for tourists.

The validity of certificate could be extended to 365 days from currently 180 days for people who have recovered, and the government considers issuing documents, limited for 90 days, about negative blood tests in addition to those based on saliva PCR screenings.

In addition, Switzerland is prepared two accept two vaccines made in China.

People who cannot be vaccinated or tested for medical reasons would also be eligible for a machine-read document.

Berset pointed out that the adapted Covid certificate would only be valid in Switzerland as it is not in line with European Union health regulations.

The proposals presented on Wednesday have been sent to political parties, cantons and institutions for consultation before the government is due to reassess the situatio in early November.

Last month, the government extended to use of the certificate notably to restaurants, as well as smaller sports and culture events, prompting increasing opposition.

Swiss voters will decide in November on a decision by parliament on the legal basis for the use of the certificate. The decision has been challenged to a referendum by critics of the government’s anti-Covid policy and anti-vaccine protesters.

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