Covid-19 protesters rally in Bern

Protests by groups opposed to the Covid certificate as well the government's Covid policy in general, have been frequent, especially in Bern. © Keystone / Anthony Anex

Over 2,000 opponents of Swiss Covid-19 restrictions took part in a demonstration in the Swiss capital Bern on Saturday afternoon. 

This content was published on January 22, 2022 - 16:45

Protesters at the unofficial rally marched from Bern station to parliament square in the city centre, under the eyes of a large police contingent.

A counter-protest by about 100 leftwing activists on bicycles also took place at the same time in the city centre. Both demonstrations went off without incident.

Protests by groups opposed to the Covid certificate as well the government's Covid policy in general, have been frequent, especially in Bern.

Last week 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.

Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset told the Schweiz am Wochenende newspaper on Saturday that 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.

Switzerland is currently undergoing a fifth wave of the pandemicExternal link, 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 also came 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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