Navigation

Coronavirus: the situation in Switzerland

In view of the recent growth in Covid-19 infections and the circulation of new Omicron subvariants, the authorities recommend over-80s and vulnerable people to get a further booster jab. © Keystone / Peter Klaunzer

Switzerland announced the lifting of all remaining Covid-19 restrictions as of April 1, 2022. However, after three months of falling infections, new infections have started rising again, due to two new Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5.

This content was published on July 13, 2022 - 13:25
  • In view of the increase in cases and the circulation of the Omicron subvariants, over-80s and vulnerable people should get a second Covid booster, authorities said on July 5. However, no new public restrictions have been announced.
  • All remaining measures were lifted on April 1. Masks are no longer required in public transport, and there is no more five-day isolation requirement for positive cases. Health-related restrictions for incoming travellers were lifted in February.
  • A total of 55,975 new Covid cases were reported on July 12 for the previous seven-day period. The seven-day daily average for new infections stood at 7,917, up 25% on the previous week. A total of 1,096 people were in hospital with Covid (+5%) and 46 were in intensive care.
  • Despite the rise in cases due to Omicron subvariants, hospital admissions remain low, the situation in intensive care is under control and deaths are at a low level, the Federal Office of Public Heath (FOPH) said on July 5. The FOPH does not expect hospitals to be overloaded in the coming weeks.
  • Around 15% of the Swiss population – more than one million people – could get infected this summer with new Omicron subvariants, warned Tanja Stadler, the former head of the government’s Covid-19 taskforce, on June 20.
  • More than 12,700 people have died in connection with Covid-19 in Switzerland, which has a population of 8.7 million.
  • Around 69% of the population has received two doses of vaccine.

Latest measures

As of April 1, there are no more pandemic restrictions in Switzerland. On March 30, the government announced that the last remaining measures would be dropped, specifically the mask requirement in public transportation and health facilities, and the mandatory five-day isolation requirement after a positive test.

Since February 17, people are no longer obliged to show a Covid certificate to enter bars, restaurants and other indoor venues such as sports facilities, theatres or concert halls. There is also no further restrictions on the size of private gatherings, while large events no longer have to apply for authorisation.

From December 20, 2021External link to February 17, 2022, only people who had been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19 were able to enter restaurants, cultural, sporting and leisure venues and attend indoor events (the “2G rule”). Masks were also mandatory in these settings and food and drink could only be consumed seated.

What’s the virus situation?

After three months of falling infections, since the end of May new coronavirus infections have started rising again due to two new Omicron subvariants, BA.4 and BA.5.

Despite the early summer increase, health officials say the situation is currently under control. The number of hospital admissions remains low, the situation in intensive care is under control and deaths are at a very low level, the FOPH said on July 5.

Around 95% of the Swiss population (8.7 million) have come into contact with the virus via vaccination or infection. The FOPH does not expect the hospital system to be overloaded in the coming weeks. There is also no evidence that infection with the BA.4 and BA.5 subvariants causes more severe effects than previous variants, the FOPH says.

Longer-term, the coronavirus will most likely not disappear, the government has said, but become endemic with seasonal waves likely in future. Responsibility for containing the virus has been handed over to cantonal authorities, with a phase of heightened vigilance planned through winter 2022-2023.

Authorities continue to advise people to observe the applicable rules on hygiene and social distancingExternal link.

External Content
External Content
External Content
External Content

Vaccination and treatment

Around 69% of the population has been fully vaccinated (two doses). Around 44% have received a booster jab. In view of the increase in cases in early summer 2022, authorities recommended on July 5 that over-80s and vulnerable people should get a second booster. A similar recommendation for the rest of the adult population is expected in autumn.

So far, four vaccines have been approved: Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, both of which have also been approved for use on children (age five and above) and teenagers; the single-dose Janssen vaccine produced by Johnson & Johnson; and the protein-based Nuvaxovid vaccine, approved in April 2022.

Medical regulator Swissmedic is also currently examining the application for authorisation of a bivalent vaccine from Moderna,  which aims be more effective against the new Omicron variants as well as protecting against the original variants.

Authorities ordered 36 million doses from Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Curevac and Novavax for the population of 8.7 million. In August 2021, the government signed a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech to supply vaccines for the next two years.

External Content

Masks and testing

From April 1, masks are no longer compulsory on public transport or at healthcare facilities. The requirement to wear face masks in schools, shops, concert halls, at work or in other public settings already ended on February 17.

At the start of the pandemic, the government adopted an extended testing strategy along with a contact-tracing concept as it moved to ease social distancing measures. The SwissCovid smartphone app, a contact-tracing system, was also developed. It was later phased out on April 1, 2022.

The government covers the costs of certain Covid-19 tests leading to a Covid certificate, as approved by parliament. Rapid antigen tests and saliva PCR pool tests (mass testing such as used in schools) are covered. Self-tests, individual PCR tests and antibody tests are not covered (although individual PCR tests are free for people with symptoms or who have been in close contact with an infected person).

Travel to and from Switzerland 

On May 2, 2022, Switzerland lifted all remaining Covid-related entry requirements for travellers entering the country, regardless of country of origin. Until then, all countries outside the Schengen zone, apart from a list of exceptions, were deemed “high-risk” by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), meaning tourists or jobseekers from those countries were unable to enter under normal procedures.

Since February 17, health-related measures for people entering the country have also been liftedExternal link. It is no longer necessary to provide proof of vaccination, recovery or a negative test or complete an entry form.

The official government TravelcheckExternal link programme and the SEMExternal link website have detailed information on who is allowed to enter Switzerland and under which conditions. The FOPH also provides up-to-date informationExternal link.

Swiss travellers planning to go abroad are advised to check entry conditions in their destination country or region. The foreign ministry has guidelines around travelling abroad during the pandemic, availableExternal link in German, French, and Italian.

External Content

What’s the situation for Swiss citizens living abroad?

Anyone who has a Swiss passport or a valid Swiss residence permit can enter Switzerland at any time.

Under the Swiss Abroad Act,External link Swiss nationals living abroad cannot however claim the right to an organised departure from a crisis area.

All Swiss representations abroad remain accessible to Swiss citizens, as does the foreign ministry helplineExternal link.

Where can I find further information on the implications of Covid-19?

SWI swissinfo.ch is keeping this story updated regularly with numbers of confirmed cases and deaths, as well as any new significant measures taken by the cantonal and federal authorities.

Unfortunately, we cannot research and answer individual questions. Please check the following official federal websites for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

Infoline for people travelling to Switzerland: +41 58 464 44 88 (6am–11pm)

The State Secretariat for MigrationExternal link: updated information on the situation at Swiss borders, with a helpline to answer questions about reasons for the refusal of entry into Switzerland and exceptions.

The Swiss foreign ministryExternal link: information in French, German and Italian about the situation regarding foreign travel and the steps to be followed by Swiss citizens going abroad. 

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH)External link: live updates of the national situation, as well as recommendations, public safety measures, and details of upcoming announcements.

The World Health Organization (WHO)External link: information on the origins and nature of Covid-19, as well as the global situation and travel advice.

Johns Hopkins UniversityExternal link: a global map that tracks the number of cases and fatalities by country.

Follow SWI swissinfo.ch hereExternal link, on FacebookExternal link, and on TwitterExternal link for timely updates on the situation in Switzerland.

In compliance with the JTI standards

In compliance with the JTI standards

More: SWI swissinfo.ch certified by the Journalism Trust Initiative

Contributions under this article have been turned off. You can find an overview of ongoing debates with our journalists here. Please join us!

If you want to start a conversation about a topic raised in this article or want to report factual errors, email us at english@swissinfo.ch.

Share this story

Change your password

Do you really want to delete your profile?