Due to the increasing caseload of CoViD patients in hospitals and the recent discovery of the more infectious Variant of Concern (VOC) "omicron", the Federal Council has successively strengthened measures to slow the circulation of the Corona virus. In its media conference on Tuesday, January 11th, the Federal Council proposed shortening the validity of CoViD certificates and extending the current pandemic countermeasures (which are due to expire on January 24th) until March 31st. Depending on feedback from the cantonal authorities, thes changes will take effect on February 1st.
In addition, the quarantine or isolation period for people testing positive for CoViD and their close contacts has been shortened from 10 days to 5 days, effective Thursday, January 13th. A summary of the changes can be found in this press release. An overview of current measures is provided on the website of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), but the revision of quarantine regulations has not yet been published. Answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) can be found here. There is also a Federal information hotline: +41 58 463 00 00.
Masks are now required in all publicly accessible indoor spaces and in public transportation. In addition access to public indoor spaces is limited to those certified as vaccinated against or recovered from CoViD-19 (2G). Exceptions *to the mask-wearing requirement* include:
- Children under 12
- People sitting in bars and restaurant to eat or drink
- Groups of less than 30 which meet regularly
- Singers rehearsing or performing, if 2G+ is applied (see below)
- Speakers at events
- Venues (other than workspaces) with a 2G+ requirement, (2G certificate + negative test if recovery or vaccination is more than 4 months ago).
A certificate is now required for all publicly accessible indoor spaces, excepting private venues. Even for private venues, certificates are recommended for groups of more than 10. Certificates are also required for those over 16 at outdoor events with more than 300 participants.
Certificates for a negative antigen test are now valid for only 24 hours. Certificates for a negative PCR test are valid for 72 hours, but the results may take up to 36 hours to process. Most venues now require certificates which are based on vaccination or recovery from CoViD-19 (2G), excluding certificates based on negative CoViD tests. In general, the wearing of masks is also required (see above). In addition they may require a negative CoViD test if the last vaccination or recovery from CoViD is more than 4 months ago.
Further information on the CoViD certificate can be found on this page. The certificate can be obtained on paper or registered in the "Covid Cert" app, which is available in the Apple App Store (for iPhones and iPads), in the Google Play Store (for Android smartphones and tablets) and also in the Huawei AppGallery. Like the COVID Certificate app, the COVID Certificate Check app is also available for download free of charge from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and the Huawei AppGallery.
Obtaining the certificate itself is managed by the individual Cantons. In Zug it is obtained as follows:
- Those who have recovered from CoViD or were vaccinated abroad should fill out and submit a BAG form.
- Those who have already received two vaccinations before June 21st should have been notified by post or by SMS how to obtain a certificate.
- Those who receive their second vaccinated on June 21st or later will receive a certificate onsite directly upon vaccination.
- Certificates for negative antigen or PCR tests will also be issued onsite upon testing as of June 21st. No certification is available for self-tests.
- Those who haven't received the certificate for their vaccinations in the Canton of Zug or who have problems with the federal form for recovered patients should fill out this form from the Canton of Zug.
Details of the procedure in Zug are available on the Zug Health Department website
Zug offers first vaccinations to everyone age 12 and above, including non-residents (e.g. commuters who work in Zug) without appointment at the vaccination center in Baar, which is open from 12:00 to 18:30, seven days a week. You can also register for an appointment. In addition, if you are over 16 and your original vaccination(s) are more than 4 months old, you can register for a booster shot. Vaccinations with Pfizer/Biontech have been approved for children over 5. However, vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 is currently recommended only for children with risk factors, although millions of children in this age group have already been vaccinated in the U.S. without ill effects. More information and links to registration forms can be found here. For information about vaccinations for young children in the Canton of Zug, please telephone +41 41 531 48 00. For vaccinations elsewhere in Switzerland, please consult this page. The Federal information hotline for vaccinations is reachable at +41 58 377 88 92.
The Swiss Health Department (Bundesamt für Gesundheit, BAG) has extended the recommendation for CoViD-19 vaccination to pregnant women (in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters) and nursing mothers. The available evidence clearly indicates that the benefits of vaccination for both mother and child far outweigh any risks. Their is no clear contraindication for vaccination during the first trimester of pregnancy, but the data for this group is not yet extensive enough for an official recommendation.
Two vaccines have received temporary approval for use in Switzerland. The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has published extensive information about the available vaccines. It is possible that the seasonal flu vaccine will provide some cross-immunity, particularly for those who have received the vaccine annually over a long period of time.
In addition to certification of recovery or vaccination or recovery (2G), indoor events or venues where mask-wearing is impractible also require a negative CoViD test if the infection or vaccination is more than 4 months ago. Venues may also require tests in addition to 2G certification at their own discretion. School children are tested regularly in the Canton of Zug, and the federal government is still funding individual PCR tests for anyone with symptoms as well as pooled tests organized by camps, schools, employers etc. You can be tested at the Andreas Clinic in Cham, at the Zuger Kantonsspital in Baar, at many family physician's practices or at one of the following pharmacies, but an appointment must be reserved in advance.
- Apotheke Drogerie Moll in the Zugerland shopping center in Steinhausen and in Unterägeri
Reserve an appointment at www.covidtestcenter.ch
- Amavita Apotheke Zug
Reserve an appointment here or by phone (058 878 24 50)
The Federal Council has stopped funding individual tests which are not motivated by symptoms, a doctor's recommendation or an exposure notification from the CoViD app effective 10 October. Please see this Health Department web page
for further details.
For the latest news and authoritative information on CoViD-19, please consult the websites of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the World Health Organization (WHO). COVID-19 Information for Switzerland has excellent visualizations of the latest available data for Switzerland. Another good source of statistics for Switzerland is this page (in German) from the Tages-Anzeiger, which is updated daily. A good source of visualizations of international data is Our World in Data.
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has also launched a website summarizing the recent statistics. An overview of the current measures and a list of FAQ are posted here. More detailed information on Federal regulations and recommendations can be found here. There are also restrictions which apply to those arriving from other countries.
Many misconceptions about the virus and measures against it are in circulation. Please refer to the WHO Myth-Busters page and the Wikipedia page, "COVID-19 misinformation" for details. The independent British fact-checker fullfact.org is also a good source of verified information about CoViD-19 / SARS-CoV2. Their website also includes some good tips for assessing the veracity of information yourself.