Switzerland: Federal Council extends the wearing of masks outside

Switzerland: Federal Council extends the wearing of masks outside
Switzerland: Federal Council extends the wearing of masks outside

New health security measures were announced on Wednesday by the Federal Council to stem the sharp rise in the number of Covid-19 contaminations.

Alain Berset speaks Wednesday about the health crisis.

KEYSTONE

The wearing of the mask will be imposed from Thursday outside, in places with high traffic such as restaurant terraces, the surroundings of shops or Christmas markets. The Federal Council extended the obligations in this area on Wednesday.

Since October 19, wearing a mask is compulsory in all enclosed public spaces, station platforms, bus stops and airports included. From now on, it will be necessary to equip oneself wherever the precautionary distance cannot be maintained, inside and outside.

This applies to busy pedestrian areas, outdoor areas of facilities and establishments such as shops, theaters, cinemas, concert halls, restaurants, bars as well as markets and Christmas markets.

The mask will also be compulsory in secondary level II schools, the level following compulsory schooling. It will also be used everywhere at work, except where distances can be respected or in individual offices. Teleworking should be preferred by employers. The protection of employees must be ensured.

Children under 12 are exempt. Just like the people who can invoke medical reasons. Customers of restaurants and bars can remove it when seated. Several cantons had already taken the lead last week.

Closed discos

Discotheques and closed nightclubs, tables of four in restaurants and bars, demonstrations of more than 50 people banned: the Federal Council is adapting its strategy against the coronavirus. The measures enter into force Thursday for an indefinite period.

The owners of discotheques, nightclubs and other dance places throughout Switzerland will have to close the doors of their establishments. The high risk of the virus spreading is particularly high in these places, the government said on Wednesday.

Restaurants and bars will have to stop their service from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Only four people can group together per table, but an exception will be made for families with children.

Meetings of family or friends in the private circle will be limited to ten people, due to the high number of contaminations in this context. Events of more than 50 people are no longer allowed whether they are sporting, cultural, religious or other activities.

On the other hand, parliamentary and municipal assemblies may take place. Political demonstrations and the collection of signatures for referendums or initiatives are possible, depending on the protection measures already in force.

Exceptions for professionals

Non-professional sports and cultural activities taking place indoors are limited to fifteen people. The distances and the wearing of the mask must be respected. In large halls, a mask is not compulsory if the distance is guaranteed.

Contact sports are prohibited. These rules apply from the age of 16.

Among professionals, athletes can continue their training and competitions, professional artists their rehearsals and performances. Amateur choirs will no longer be able to rehearse, unlike professionals.

Teaching in universities and other high schools will be done remotely from November 2. Lessons in compulsory schools and secondary II (gymnasiums and vocational schools) can be given face to face.

Rapid tests

Rapid tests can be used as of Monday to determine a Covid-19 infection. The Federal Council has decided to introduce them in order to isolate positive cases more quickly. He also defined new rules for quarantines on Wednesday.

The National Reference Center for Emerging Viral Infections (crive) in Geneva evaluated the accuracy of these tests which give a result in 15 minutes. Less sensitive than virological PCR tests, antigenic tests cannot however be used for the whole population.

Only people who show symptoms, according to the criteria of the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) and who are not part of a risk category will be able to benefit from rapid tests. Symptoms should have appeared less than four days ago.

If the rapid test is negative, but the person has symptoms, they will need to stay in isolation for up to 24 hours after symptoms resolve. A single test does not rule out infection, recalls the government.

Asymptomatic people who have been alerted by the SwissCovid tracing application will also be able to undergo the rapid test. Whatever the outcome, they must remain in quarantine. If positive, they will also have to undergo a PCR test.

The tests will be reimbursed by the Confederation; but only to people who meet the criteria issued by the FOPH.

Unlike virological PCR tests, antigen tests look not for the genetic material of the virus, but for a protein present in the virus. The analysis technique is faster and generally does not require specific equipment. It is possible to perform them in a delocalized way, without a laboratory.

According to the first experiences, the fact of quickly obtaining the result increases the desire to be tested and to inform those around him.

Quarantines

Given the very high incidence of coronavirus cases in Switzerland, the Federal Council has also increased the threshold values ​​for placing countries and areas on the quarantine list.

Only countries and territories where the incidence exceeds the incidence in Switzerland by more than 60 will be declared at risk. Those who return will have to go into quarantine. The duration of this is maintained at ten days. People who evade quarantine may be punished with a maximum fine of 10,000 francs

The exceptions for business travel and for people traveling for medical reasons are also adapted. Currently, these trips cannot last more than five days. This rule is abolished.

The changes come into effect Thursday.

Countries at risk

Belgium, the Czech Republic, Andorra and Armenia: the Federal Council now classifies only these four countries as well as three zones in France as regions at risk in connection with the coronavirus. The government has changed its criteria.

The new ordinance will come into effect Thursday. Only people entering Switzerland from these four countries will have to undergo a ten-day quarantine. In France, the regions of Hauts-de-France and Île-de-France as well as the overseas territory of French Polynesia are concerned.

As of Wednesday morning, 12,099 people were in quarantine after arriving in Switzerland. Also on Wednesday, the list of risk areas includes more than sixty countries and many regions in neighboring countries.

New rule

In view of the explosion of cases in Switzerland, the Federal Council has decided to change its criteria. Previously, the rule was that a country with more than 60 new infections per 100,000 population in the last 14 days was on the list, with exceptions for border areas.

According to the new ordinance, only countries or regions with a 14-day index per 100,000 inhabitants are more than 60 higher than that of Switzerland on the list. According to the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP), the current value of nearly 763 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in Switzerland is significantly higher than in other countries.

Health Minister Alain Berset said last week that it was not logical to put on the list of countries and regions that have in comparison fewer infections than Switzerland.

(ATS / NXP)

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