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16 Apr 2020 | 01:34 PM UTC

Switzerland: Government announces gradual relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions from April 27 /update 8

Swiss authorities announce three-stage relaxation of ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions beginning April 27; follow government directives



The Swiss government announced on Thursday, April 16, that authorities will implement a three-stage relaxation of the current restrictions introduced amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. As of Monday, April 27, hospitals will be permitted to conduct all procedures (including elective surgeries), and massage parlors, salons, and hairdressers will be allowed to resume operations. In the second stage, shops, markets, and compulsory schools will be authorized to reopen from Monday, May 11. In the final stage, universities, secondary schools, and vocational schools will be allowed to reopen from Monday, June 8. Authorities reportedly established the three-stage easing to allow health experts to monitor the spread of COVID-19. The nationwide restrictions, which currently include border controls, school closures, and bans on gatherings, will remain in place until Sunday, April 26.

On Wednesday, March 25, the Swiss government extended its entry restrictions to all Schengen states. Entry restrictions were previously in place for Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, and all non-Schengen states. Citizens of Switzerland and Liechtenstein, individuals with a Swiss residence permit, and individuals embarking on work-related and emergency travel to Switzerland will still be allowed to enter the country. Travelers may transit through Switzerland and the movement of goods will not be affected. These restrictions apply to flights and entry at land borders.

As of April 16, 26,732 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Switzerland, as well as 1281 associated fatalities. Further international spread of COVID-19 is expected over the coming days and weeks.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia. 


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:  

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.