New COVID restrictions expected from Swiss cantons

New COVID restrictions expected from Swiss cantons

The head of the cantonal healthcare system has announced each Swiss canton will begin to implement its own COVID rules, in order to cope with the recent spike of cases in Switzerland. The new rules may include new mask mandates and using COVID certificates in more settings.

New Swiss COVID restrictions expected soon

Currently, Switzerland is seeing more than 6.000 new cases of coronavirus each day, which is putting great strain on the healthcare system. The President of the Swiss Conference of the Cantonal Ministers of Public Health (GDK), Lukas Engelberger, said that the situation becomes more difficult each day that cases rise.

Speaking to the Tages-Anzeiger, he said he anticipates that there will be “further measures shortly - initially at the cantonal level.” He added that his canton, Basel Stadt, is currently working on short-term measures to curtail the spread of coronavirus, and that he anticipates every canton is having the same discussion. While he said the new restrictions were in the pipeline, it remains unclear when they will come into effect.

Switzerland hopes to avoid lockdown with new coronavirus restrictions

Engelberger counselled that no canton was thinking of getting rid of policies from the Swiss government, but did say that more measures might have to be taken. Some of the policies he highlighted included new mask mandates for events and Swiss schools, as well as extending the certificate requirement to hospitals and nursing homes.

There is fresh concern that Swiss COVID policy will follow a similar trend as late 2020, where cantons determined the majority of restrictions, leading to a “patchwork” across the country. When asked why cantons were acting before the federal government, Engelberger said, “We are following typical Swiss logic: working from bottom to top.”

Concluding the interview, the GDK president noted that each canton has “limited room for manoeuvre, but we have to try [restrictions] now. If it's not enough, the Federal Council will have to take action again.”

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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