Due to the fast-spreading Omicron variant, the number of new daily coronavirus infections in Switzerland has reached unprecedented highs: 32,741 new cases were reported for the preceding 24-hour period on February 1, serving as their fifth wave of the pandemic, in the latest COVID update in Switzerland.
In the country, which has a population of 8.6 million people, more than 12,100 people have died as a result of Covid-19 complications and will continue to rise as Omicron variant kicked in.
The number of new Covid-19 cases in Switzerland has reached an all-time high, as the Omicron variant greatly increases the spread of the virus. According to health experts, the peak of the fifth wave has yet to be reached.
The restrictions in the country have been extended in order to control the increasing number of spread of the virus. 194,679 new Covid-19 positive entries were recorded this week, 18% over the previous week’s 164,333 cases. The real number of cases could be much higher, given the strong and fast spread of Omicron, which presently dominates (89 %) throughout Switzerland.
468 persons were hospitalized because of Covid-19 this week, somewhat more than the previous week’s total, however the latest estimates are sure to grow as data collecting catch up with reality.
Number of serious cases has declined
Simultaneously, the number of serious cases has declined. According to the most recent report, there are 235 Covid-19 patients are in ICU, a 9% decrease from last week’s 257 Covid-19 patients. This quantity, though, could increase when the data reaches its peak. This year, the government will upgrade 24 local hospitals to support planned and routine care, ensuring the safety of non-COVID patients while COVID patients are being treated.
This includes government projects announced just a few weeks ago to expand ICU capacity in a few hospitals. We are shifting to better support planned and routine care while also safely caring for COVID-19 patients, thanks to high vaccination rates and improved treatments and prevention methods.
Treating COVID patients can interfere with other treatments because extra precautions are taken for infection prevention and control.
The government of Switzerland said on January 19 that it will prolong the coronavirus quarantine and work-from-home regulations until the end of February, as well as other restrictions regarding social life, and can be extended until the end of March if the curve will not go down.
“An unimaginable downturn”
Meanwhile, a coalition of business groups and right-leaning political parties claims that Covid’s limits are “inappropriate” and unsuitable for improving industry and society’s current position.
The economic crisis in Switzerland is having an unimaginable downturn. Many governments made an action to the Covid-19 pandemic by putting severe and tight restrictions on their society and businesses, causing worldwide trade and demand for Swiss exports to plummet significantly in March.
The Swiss authorities, too, shut down much of the country’s public activities including some facilities, causing a significant negative impact on their economy.
Updates on Policies Related to COVID
Here are the latest updates on COVID-related policies in Switzerland as of February 2022.
COVID Update: Shortened quarantine and isolation periods
The government agreed on January 12 to shorten the quarantine and isolation periods to five days, with only those in direct contact with an infected individual subject to the rules and regulation. This was done to avoid the economy from suffering as a result of worker shortages.
Before entering Switzerland, those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 have no longer been required to present a negative PCR or rapid antigen test since January 22, 2022. To enter the country, people who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered will still have to take PCR tests or rapid antigen tests.
Travelers will no longer be required to take a second test four to seven days after entering the country. Last year, Switzerland was open to the large percentage of tourists because all of the countries had successful vaccination programs and infection rates of Covid-19 were not rising.
COVID Update: Stricter restrictions from Omicron-affected places
To prevent the new variant from spreading, most EU/Schengen Area nations, including Switzerland, tightened their entry regulations as soon as the Omicron COVID-19 variant was discovered and began to circulate in the EU and Schengen Area. Regardless of their vaccination or recovery status, all travelers over the age of 16 who arrive in Switzerland from some countries, such as Belgium, Czechia, Denmark, the Netherlands, or Portugal, must fill out an admission form and provide a negative PCR test result or rapid antigen result.
A ten-day quarantine period and a second test are also required for travelers from certain places that have been afflicted by the Omicron strain. Vaccinated and recovered travelers, as well as others, are all affected by this.
COVID Update: 2G Rule and Work From Home requirements reinstated
Since December 20, only individuals who have been vaccinated or who have managed to recover from Covid-19 have been permitted to enter restaurants, institutional, sports events, leisure establishments, and to attend indoor events (the so-called “2G rule”). Work from home requirements have also been reinstated. If there is one person under the age of 16 who is unvaccinated or has not recovered from Covid-19, private gatherings are limited to ten people only.
COVID Update: COVID-19 Recovery Certificates validity shortened to 270 days
As of February 1, the validity period for COVID-19 certificates of recovery will be reduced to 270 days. The Committee determined the validity period for vaccination certificates based on a recommendation from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which states that booster vaccines should be administered no later than six months after the second dose.
The Commission also decided to reduce the isolation period from ten to five days during its meeting on Wednesday. The decision went into effect immediately. However, in order to be eligible to leave quarantine on the fifth day, a person must be symptom-free for at least 48 hours prior to the end of their isolation. The quarantine period has been reduced because research has shown that the time between infection and transmission of the Omicron virus variant is shorter.