Swiss speed up reopening, authorize major events with “COVID certificates”
- Swiss Minister of Health: courageous, not too confident
- Towards EU recognition of COVID certificates in July
- Travel limits relaxed in time for summer tourism
ZURICH, June 23 (Reuters) – Switzerland will allow large events of more than 10,000 people from Saturday, provided that participants have so-called COVID certificates indicating that they are vaccinated, cured of COVID-19 or have tested negative.
The plan, announced on Wednesday, puts Switzerland at the forefront of efforts to restore Europe to normalcy and aligns with the country’s “lockdown light” strategy, balancing economic protections with measures to health related to the pandemic.
Wearing a mask outside will no longer be mandatory, restaurant seats will be unlimited and nightclubs will be able to reopen their doors, with no masks required for people with a COVID certificate.
Switzerland’s plan to reopen accelerates previous proposals which predicted events of 10,000 people from August 20, but Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset said there was “no reason to wait” As new infections fell to 154 on Wednesday, with two deaths, a sign the pandemic is under control.
“It’s a big step, a little brave, and we can’t get too confident,” Berset said at a press conference in Bern.
“We are looking to find the right balance.”
The relaxation leaves limits of 30 people at private indoor gatherings, 50 people at private outdoor gatherings, and general mask requirements on public transportation.
From Saturday, Switzerland will also facilitate travel from European countries in the Schengen passport-free zone, the United States, Albania and Serbia, with the aim of helping the tourism sector affected by the pandemic early of summer.
Martin Nydegger, director of Swiss Tourism, hopes for an increase in guests from the United States, where vaccination is well advanced, and the Gulf States of the Middle East.
“They are waiting to be allowed to enter Switzerland and get visas,” Nydegger predicted.
“Long distance markets in the East (Asia) will come later.”
Switzerland is working with the European Union on mutual recognition of COVID certificates, with an agreement likely next month, a Swiss government lawyer said.
Now, border health measures will focus on countries where worrying variants, including the infectious Delta variant first documented in India, are spreading, Switzerland said. Read more
Even for travelers from such places, “people vaccinated and recovered (…) can enter without the requirement of testing or quarantine, as long as it is certain that the vaccination offers good protection,” the government said. .
Reporting by John Miller, editing by Michael Shields
Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.