Masks no longer compulsory on public transport

  01.04.2022 Local News

It is not an April Fool's joke. The Federal Council decided on Wednesday to lift the last measures on 1 April: the obligation to isolate infected persons and the requirement to wear masks in public transport and in health facilities. This marks a return to the normal situation, and the main responsibility for measures to protect the population now lies once again with the cantons. Until spring 2023, a transitional phase with increased vigilance and reaction capability is necessary, writes the Federal Council.

Danger "unlikely"
Thanks to the high level of immunisation of the population, there has been no marked increase in the number of Covid 19 patients in intensive care units in recent weeks, although the number of infections has risen again in the meantime, the Federal Council explains its decision. There is little likelihood of a threat to public health in the coming months. However, the further course of the Covid 19 pandemic cannot be reliably estimated. "The Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus will most likely not disappear but become endemic.” It is to be expected that there will also be seasonal waves of disease in the future.

Transitional phase until spring 2023
The federal government and the cantons are planning a transition phase until spring 2023, during which increased vigilance and the ability to react will remain necessary. Structures must be maintained to the extent that the cantons and the Confederation can react quickly to new developments. This applies in particular to testing, vaccination, contact tracing, surveillance and the obligation of hospitals to report.

Back to the normal division of tasks between the Confederation and the cantons
With the change to the normal situation, most of the tasks in the management of the Covid 19 pandemic will return to the main responsibility of the cantons, as provided for in the Epidemics Act. In principle, the cantons are responsible for ordering measures to combat communicable diseases and for coordinating them among themselves.

In the canton of Bern, individual measures will apply until the end of April due to the high number of cases (see below). 

SwissCovid app to be temporarily deactivated
The Federal Council has also decided to temporarily deactivate the SwissCovid app. With the lifting of the isolation requirement, the conditions for the effective continuation of the app are no longer met. However, the operation of the SwissCovid app could be resumed quickly if the epidemiological situation requires. Hence, the necessary IT infrastructures will continue to be maintained in the background. The user data on the federal government's systems will be destroyed.

Based on AvS/Anita Moser

Canton of Bern

At present, the number of cases is still very high and the course of the pandemic is uncertain due to the easing of Swiss-wide measures. The cantonal government has therefore decided to continue individual measures at the cantonal level.

Masks still compulsory in the health sector
In the health sector, the requirement to wear masks in hospitals and in old people's and nursing homes will remain in force until the end of April 2022. The same deadline applies to outpatient care (Spitex organisations). The requirement to wear masks is recommended at doctors' surgeries.

Doctor's certificate after a positive PCR test
Because the Federal Council has lifted the officially ordered isolation in cases of corona infections, the social partners in the canton of Bern expect an increase in doctor's visits that are not medically justified, but take place solely because of the doctor's certificate, writes the Economic Commission. In order to relieve the burden on health care institutions, the social partners continue to recommend that employers request a doctor's certificate only from the fifth day of absence due to illness if the PCR test is positive.


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