Corona Pandemic

Switzerland and France relax restrictions

In the fight against the Corona pandemic, Switzerland and France see opportunities to contain measures.
IMAGO / IP3press
In the fight against the Corona pandemic, Switzerland and France see opportunities to contain measures.

Despite high Corona infection figures, Switzerland will soon lift all protective measures. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, quarantine will no longer be mandatory for people who have been in contact with infected persons as of this Thursday. Because of the very high infection rates, quarantine has lost its importance, the government announced. However, those who are infected themselves must continue to isolate themselves. Likewise, the home office obligation will be dropped with immediate effect.

It plans to make the final decision on ending all other measures on Feb. 16 after consultations with the cantons. The government has put forward two proposals: Option one calls for an end to virtually all measures as of Feb. 17, when infection rates and hospitalizations of covid patients fall. Infected individuals, however, would then have to continue to isolate themselves.

Option two calls for a gradual rollback of measures. First, the access rule in restaurants (access only for vaccinated and recovered people) would fall, and the last would be the mask requirement in public transport. On Feb. 16, a decision is also to be made on whether the testing requirement for people who have not been vaccinated or have recovered, as well as the collection of contact data, will be lifted upon entry.

Relaxations in France

France has also begun easing Corona restrictions in light of declining infection numbers. On Wednesday, capacity restrictions on sports and cultural facilities were lifted, along with outdoor masking regulations. The home office requirement was changed to a recommendation. France's high vaccination rate has made it possible to cope with the omicron wave without a lockdown, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said in Paris. Other relaxations, such as the opening of discos, are to follow as announced Feb. 16.

There is hope for a permanent end to the corona crisis, Attal said. In 11 of France's 13 regions, infection rates are already declining, he said. The seven-day incidence was most recently 3488 new infections per 100,000 population in one week. The burden on hospitals is at an all-time high, with more than 30,000 patients, but the situation in intensive care units is easing, Attal said.

Faced with stricter rules for those not vaccinated and not fully vaccinated, the spokesman urged the population to booster vaccination. As of Feb. 15, this will be required no later than four months after basic immunization for the nationwide vaccination and recovery record. This so-called "Pass Vaccinal" is a prerequisite for unrestricted participation in public life and is required for long-distance travel by train and plane, for visiting cafés and restaurants, as well as at the cinema and events.