Faced with the outbreak of contaminations, the Federal Council did not wait for its Friday meeting to discuss the measures to be taken and met on Tuesday. Alain Berset and Guy Parmelin informed the press at the end of the afternoon.

We therefore summarize the main measures that the Federal Council is putting into consultation to deal with the arrival of the Omicron variant and the outbreak of the Delta variant. Measures that would be applicable until January 24. The cantons must decide until Wednesday evening. The Federal Council will take stock on Friday.

The Federal Council proposes to impose the Covid certificate for private gatherings with family and friends held indoors and involving 11 or more people. The goal is above all to encourage unvaccinated people to be tested, explained Alain Berset.

Bern proposes to impose the wearing of a mask in all indoor spaces where the certificate is compulsory, including at events taking place indoors and requiring the presentation of a certificate. A measure that has proved its worth, according to the Federal Council, which wants to avoid in turn leading to closures.

People who use indoor catering services will have to eat while sitting down (including at nightclubs and at events).

In the case of cultural or sporting activities that do not allow the wearing of a mask, it will be necessary to collect the contact details of the people present (as in discotheques).

Bern wants to extend the compulsory certificate to all events open to the public and to all sports and cultural activities of indoor amateurs. The exception in force for fixed groups of up to 30 people would be abolished.

The certificate would also be necessary for outdoor events from 300 people (against 1000 currently).

The Federal Council is also proposing to reduce the validity period of PCR tests from 72 to 48 hours, and that of rapid antigenic tests from 48 to 24 hours.

Bern wants to impose repeated tests on all compulsory and secondary II schools.

Bern also wants measures with regard to the world of work. It offers three variants: 1. Wearing a mask would be compulsory for all employees in closed and shared spaces. 2. Employees who are neither vaccinated nor cured would be required to work from home. 3. Or there would be the general obligation to work from home.

A journalist asks the CF about the 2nd scenario where unvaccinated people would stay at home to work. Could the others soon do without the mask in this variant? Michael Gerber of the FOPH confirms this.

A journalist wonders about the fact that we can be 60 in a restaurant, but not at work. Alain Berset believes that the situations are not the same, but that it is only a consultation. In addition, he finds that many companies have already imposed teleworking again, and people are also increasingly wearing the mask.

Who is going to manage the family’s certificates at Christmas when the family is divided over the issue? Guy Parmelin jokes: the grandmother! More seriously, he specifies that the Federal Council calls for the responsibility of people to take precautions. But the question will also be deepened on Friday.

Alain Berset returns to the question: it is certainly difficult to control people and the Federal Council is aware of this. But the idea is to get the message across to people who are getting ready to spend the holidays with friends or family in meetings of more than 11 people: “if you are not vaccinated, go for a test,” explains he does in substance.

Is the support of the army for the 3rd dose a topic for the Federal Council? Guy Parmelin says it: we have to be sure that the conditions are met for the army to be called up. It is there as an alternative. But the Federal Council is thinking about it, the subject needs to be explored in depth? If we are having a family celebration and someone does not want to be vaccinated, it is individual responsibility! he exclaims.

Alain Berset recognizes it: it is not easy to control. But the idea is to tell people to be careful, that unvaccinated people go for a test before they meet the family. This is a message of common sense, because we know that the virus circulates a lot in private circles, he explains in substance.

The Federal Council proposes to require all compulsory and secondary II schools to carry out repeated tests. It is a good thing to fight against the pandemic, he recalls.

Alain Berset affirms it: the criteria have not changed: it is above all the overload of the hospital system and intensive care which is the most important to monitor. But today we have the unknown of this highly contagious new variant that could create a new wave of patients, he says. This is why the Federal Council is playing the card of caution, says the Fribourgeois.

Michael Gerber, of the law section at the FOPH, answers: the ordinances do not make specificities for top athletes but the cantons can enact their rules. There are possibilities.

Alain Berset takes the floor again: we are aware that these quarantines can pose problems, they were taken very quickly. These questions will be discussed more specifically on Friday, he says.

Alain Berset faces several questions from German-speaking journalists on the lifting of capacity restrictions. He reiterates that the adult population wishing to be vaccinated has received a sufficient dose of vaccine and that it is no longer possible, from an epidemiological point of view, to impose capacity restrictions, especially in indoor spaces.

Guy Parmelin explains: what is new is the number of mutations, more than 30, of this Omicron variant. This could have disastrous consequences due to the still virulent existence of the Delta variant, he emphasizes in substance.

Guy Parmelin replies that Bern will very quickly discuss quarantines again, whether to maintain them or not, whether to coordinate with the Schengen area. Other economic measures are also still on the table, especially in terms of HRT and unemployment, explains in substance the Vaudois who refuses to go into details for the moment.

The Federal Council is coldly “Real Politik”, explains Guy Parmelin. Action had to be taken as quickly as possible. There is a combination of circumstances with Sunday’s vote, he admits.

Guy Parmelin explains: after a certain number of months, there is a drop in immunity, especially in those over 65. But since yesterday, the cantons open the 3rd dose to everyone, he said. This will allow the degree of protection to be raised and contamination to be avoided, he said. For those who hesitate to take the 3rd dose, it should be done, he recommends.

Alain Berset summarizes his remarks in German. Before we go to questions. Would he have done so without the new variant, asks a journalist. The Fribourgeois is honest: it was not planned to take so many measures, the Federal Council would have sat normally on Friday and would have left the hand to the cantons. “Since Thursday 5 pm, the work has been enormous in the administration not to be overwhelmed by the situation,” he said.

After Vaccination Week, the Federal Council considers that the adult population wishing to be vaccinated has received a sufficient dose of vaccine, in accordance with art. 1a, al. 2, of the COVID-19 law, voted by Parliament, explains Alain Berset. “This is not ideal given the situation,” he said, but the Federal Council no longer has the epidemiological possibility of imposing capacity restrictions, especially in interior spaces.

The cantons must look into the measures by Wednesday evening for a period of validity until January 24. The goal is to avoid ending up with two pandemics on your hands, especially during the holidays, explains Alain Berset in substance.

Alain Berset describes the measures submitted for consultation to the cantons. In particular the extension of the wearing of the mask indoors. “We know this is an effective measure,” he said. “And we want to do everything to avoid closures like our neighbors,” he insists.

He also mentions the three variants with regard to compulsory or partially compulsory teleworking.

It also discusses the validity of PCR and antigen tests which will be reduced. It’s more restrictive, but it will be more reliable, he believes.

Alain Berset describes the situation in the hospital environment. According to him, 230 patients are in intensive care and we have exceeded one million contaminations, he explains.

The Minister of Health recalls the unfavorable development since Thursday 5 p.m. with the first information on the Omicron variant, he explains. He recalls the measures taken immediately with the return of quarantines after the return of many countries.

We are on the 6th day since this apparition. We still know little about this variant, except that it seems very contagious, but there is no reason to panic, so do not be afraid of it. We knew that could happen, says the Fribourgeois. “We are faced with two variants in parallel,” he sums up.

We will know more about Omicron in 4-6 weeks and we want to guarantee a winter without closures and without overloading in a hospital environment, assures Alain Berset.

Guy Parmelin will speak first. He begins in German and explains that the Federal Council did not want to wait until Friday to meet given the arrival of the Omicron variant. He doesn’t want to waste time taking action, he says. This is why he is proposing pragmatic measures to fight the virus.

It is in French: we have taken no decision today and are putting several measures into consultation. Including the extension of the wearing of masks and the obligation to telework, says the Vaudois.

“This new wave is a shock for everyone, because everyone is tired of this situation and I understand it”, says the President of the Confederation. “We are all responsible for controlling the situation,” he said, recalling the vaccination.

Ref: https://www.lematin.ch