ZURICH – Switzerland will lift almost all its coronavirus pandemic restrictions from midnight, the government said on Wednesday, as fears waned that a spike in infections fuelled by Omicron variant would overwhelm the health care system.
The government said only the requirement to wear masks on public transport and while visiting healthcare facilities would remain in force temporarily after the changes, which end nearly two years of restrictions on public life.
‘The light on the horizon is very visible’, President Ignazio Cassis told a news conference in Bern, although he added the government was ready to reimpose curbs if needed.
‘The virus is there. We are learning how to live with the virus’, he said.
Mandatory give – day isolation of people who have tested positive will also remain in efect until the end of March.
But shops, restaurants and cultural institutions would be freely accessible, the government said, pressing ahead with measures it had flagged two weeks.
‘We have been waiting for this moment for a long time’, said Casimir Platzer, head of the Gastrosuisse catering sector lobby, hailing the end of requirement for guests to show a special COVID-19 certificate to enter bars and restaurants.
More than 90% of Switzerland’s population of 8.6 million people have gained protection from the virus, having either recovered from COVID-19 or been vaccinated, officials note.