Swiss government sees no need to tighten anti-Covid rules

Berset explained the Swiss government's policy to leave the current anti-Covid measures unchanged but said teh situation would be re-examined regularly. Keystone/Peter Schneider

Interior Minister Alain Berset says there is no need for new nationwide measures in Switzerland despite a surge in Covid infections.

This content was published on November 24, 2021 - 17:43

Berset, whose portfolio includes health issues, said the current epidemiological situation was critical but that the intensive care units in hospitals could still cope with the number of Covid patients.

He also said that the federalist system, which gives the cantonal authorities wide-ranging autonomy, was well suited to deal with regional differences.

“The national government can’t take responsibility for everything,” Berset told a news conference on Wednesday following a regular cabinet meeting.

He said it was up to the 26 cantons to take appropriate measures, including regular Covid testing, wearing masks and the use of health certificate.

“A consistent application of existing measures is key,” he said.

Taking a risk

Berset acknowledged that the government was taking a risk, given the increase in infections and the situation in neighbouring countries.

The Swiss health authoritiesExternal link on Wednesday reported 8,585 new confirmed cases of Covid over the past 24 hours and the figures are still expected to increase over the next few weeks, according to experts.

Berset dismissed allegations that the government’s latest decision was a result of tactical considerations ahead of a nationwide vote on Sunday about the use of Covid certificate for people who have been vaccinated, have recovered from the infection or have tested negative to Covid.

“The reference for a tightening of measures is the capacity of Swiss hospitals to cope with the number of patients,” he reiterated.

Close cooperation between the national and cantonal governments remains a crucial element according to Berset for Switzerland to make it through the next few weeks and months without imposing new drastic curbs.

He also said that individual citizens could also contribute by getting vaccinated and observing the hygiene rules.

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