Swiss businesses demand immediate end to COVID restrictions
Businesses call for the end of Swiss COVID certificates
Hans Ulrich Bigler, director of the Association of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, said that many sectors of the economy and population have suffered “enormously” because of the COVID measures. Speaking alongside business leaders from the hospitality sector and politicians at a press conference on Tuesday, he called for the scrapping of COVID certificates, along with other key restrictions.
Currently, a COVID certificate is required for most public places and businesses. Although Health Minister Alain Berset said the days of the certificate were numbered, those at the conference called for its immediate suspension, calling the current restrictions “disproportionate” and not beneficial to businesses or society as a whole.
High number of coronavirus cases remains an issue
In response, health experts from the Swiss COVID-19 Science Task Force have called the proposals counter-productive. Urs Karrer, from the task force, said the idea was like "shooting ourselves in the foot." Patrick Mathys, from the Federal Office of Public Health, urged caution, noting that COVID numbers are yet to peak in Switzerland and that it was too risky to suspend restrictions now.
The number of infections has been rising throughout Switzerland, with around 32.000 cases recorded on average every week. Hospitals are currently treating around 1.900 COVID patients - a situation that was described at the latest COVID press conference as “tense.” The government said in the announcement that the high number of infections caused by the Omicron variant was the main reason why Swiss healthcare remains under pressure.
The number of cases has led to a dramatic increase in those isolating or quarantining, which has resulted in staff shortages across all sectors, according to Swissinfo. The Federal Council has confirmed that they are reviewing the situation and will reconvene next week to decide whether it is possible to lift more restrictions.