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EXPLAINED: How will Switzerland enforce the Covid certificate in private homes?

Swiss Interior and health Minister Alain Berset. Image: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Swiss Interior and health Minister Alain Berset. Image: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
Switzerland has flagged a Covid certificate requirement for private gatherings with more than 11 people. How will this be enforced?

PLEASE NOTE: Switzerland has since scrapped a plan to enforce the certificate requirement in private homes. Click here for the up to date measures. 

Switzerland on Tuesday put a range of new measures out to the cantons for consultation, with a definitive answer expected on December 1st. 

With few exceptions, this has tended to be the process for adding – and removing – Covid measures since the start of the pandemic. 

More information about the measures is available at the following link. 

READ MORE: Switzerland flags new measures, expansion of Covid certificate

One of the major measures was requiring Covid certificates for private gatherings. 

Private meetings – including those with family and friends – with more than 11 people are to be limited to those with a Covid certificate under the measures. 

At a press conference on November 30th, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset said the measure required the common sense of people in Switzerland, but added that the government would not be sending the police to patrol people’s private homes. 

“We won’t be going from house to house to check how many people are there” Berset said. 

He called upon Swiss to take personal responsibility. 

While the surprising measure may have conjured images of your uncle scanning Covid certificates at the door before Christmas dinner, in reality it is reflective of a desire to minimise contact generally, particularly among the unvaccinated, who are more vulnerable to serious courses of the virus. 

The measures are also more relaxed than those in place last year. 

Previous measures in place included a limit of five people in private rooms, regardless of vaccination status. 

Studies have shown that Covid infections are particularly prevalent in private settings and gatherings. 

What is the background to the decision? 

Just two days after a nationwide referendum where voters backed the government’s powers to make Covid rules, Switzerland’s Federal Council has flagged a range of new Covid measures. 

The Federal Council said tighter rules were clearly needed, with rising case numbers and dwindling hospital capacities creating a “critical situation” in the country. 

‘Critical situation’: Switzerland’s new coronavirus hotspots

“If the development continues at the rate of the past few weeks, a nationwide overload of the intensive care units cannot be ruled out,” the government said in a press release. 

The concern is also fuelled by the newly discovered Omicron virus variant, which some experts believe is more infectious.  

“There is a risk that the previous vaccines will be less effective and that a previous infection with SARS CoV-2 will provide less protection against renewed infection,” the government said. 

The measures, which were approved by the Federal Council, have now been put out to the cantons for consultation, with a final decision to be made on Wednesday, December 1st. 


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