Swiss open the doors despite Delta concerns
Switzerland will scrap most of its remaining coronavirus restrictions this weekend, the government announced Wednesday, including for entry into the country, despite concerns about the Delta variant.
Remaining outdoor mask-wearing rules will be dropped from Saturday and the requirement to work from home will be downgraded to a recommendation.
Shops will be able to open at full capacity, while the limit on the numbers of people at restaurant tables will be lifted.
“The situation allows us to take an important step forward,” Health Minister Alain Berset told a news conference in the capital Bern.
“We have a good epidemiological situation, new infections are down sharply and in parallel, of course, vaccination continues to advance at a very sustained rate,” he said, estimating that 50 percent of adults will be fully vaccinated before July.
He said the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines used in Switzerland give good protection against the Delta variant.
Though the mutation first detected in India needed monitoring, Berset said he thought vaccination could outpace its spread.
Cases have continued to fall despite the previous waves of reopening on April 19 and May 31.
Switzerland, a country of 8.6 million people, has recorded 699,155 positive Covid-19 tests and 10,273 deaths from the virus.
Wednesday’s daily new cases were up by 152.
The landlocked European country is also easing its entry restrictions.
People entering Switzerland from the 25 other countries in Europe’s Schengen area will not need to go into quarantine.
And testing will now only apply to those arriving by plane who have not been vaccinated or recovered from Covid-19.
In addition, people will be allowed in from third countries if they can prove they have been vaccinated — a move which notably will ease restrictions for people travelling from the United States.
And from countries with variants of concern in circulation — meaning states where the Delta variant is widespread, such as Britain and India — vaccinated or recovered people will be allowed in without testing or quarantine.