The Swiss government wishes to offer each person five self-tests for COVID-19, in order to support the restart of economic and social life.
• Read also: All the developments of the pandemic
On March 1, Switzerland, which has never confined itself, began a slow process of easing restrictions, reopening shops, museums, library reading rooms, sports and outdoor recreation facilities, and the outdoor spaces of zoos and botanical gardens.
Therefore, the Federal Council (government) intends to launch a massive screening campaign, the amount of which should exceed one billion francs (904 million euros), he said in a press release.
He thus wishes to offer to each person who wishes it five self-tests per month, as soon as these are “sufficiently reliable”.
To encourage the multiplication of tests, he also proposes that the Confederation bear the cost of all types of screening carried out in pharmacies and screening centers, including for non-symptomatic people.
Currently, the Confederation finances the screening of symptomatic people, but also that of non-symptomatic people in medico-social establishments and schools, as well as in the context of the fight against local outbreaks. From mid-March, it is expected that it will also cover the cost of other tests.
The government also wants businesses and schools to perform “repeated tests to prevent and detect coronavirus outbreaks as early as possible.” However, participation in this type of screening will be optional.
Although these tests are optional, the cantons can take other measures. The tests have thus been made compulsory in middle and high school in the canton of Zug, the only one so far to have implemented such a practice. The first week of mandatory testing revealed four positive cases out of 7,500 people tested.
Hit hard by the second wave of contamination, Switzerland has only since early February found normal levels of mortality for those over 65.
The Alpine country has so far recorded more than 9,200 deaths. A total of nearly 300,000 people have received the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine.