Coronavirus: religious services possible again, legal basis for SwissCovid app
Bern, 20.05.2020 - Religious services can take place again as of the 28th May 2020. In order to achieve this, the various faith communities must develop protection concepts. This decision was taken by the Federal Council at its meeting on 20th May 2020. It also approved an urgent amendment to the Epidemics Act for the attention of parliament as the legal basis for the SwissCovid App. Furthermore, it instructed the Federal Department of Home Affairs (FDHA) to ensure early access to vaccines.
Faith communities should be able to resume their common religious life. From the 28th of May 2020, all services and celebrations of all faiths will once again be permitted. The religious communities have one week to work out protection concepts and to ensure the tracing of possible chains of infection. A framework protection concept has been drawn up by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
Legal basis for SwissCovid-App
In addition, the Federal Council has approved the legal basis for the new SwissCovid app. The amended Epidemics Act gives the FOPH the right to operate a proximity tracing system to contain the spread of the virus. The data processed in the SwissCovid app is used solely to notify the participating persons if they were potentially exposed to the corona virus. The Swiss-Covid app supplements the traditional contact tracing of the cantons, i.e. the tracing and interruption of infection chains.
The use of the app is voluntary and participation or non-participation does not result in any disadvantages or advantages. Data protection is guaranteed at all times. The data is stored decentrally and the system does not collect location data. The technical details and source code are public. As soon as the system is no longer required to combat the coronavirus, the Federal Council will take it out of service.
The bill is to be debated by parliament in the summer session in June. If the amendment is approved, the SwissCovid app can be introduced throughout Switzerland before the end of June. In the coming weeks the app will be tested in a pilot phase.
Securing access to vaccines
The Federal Council wants to ensure that the research and development of a vaccine is accelerated and that the Swiss population has the fastest possible access to a safe and effective vaccine. At the same time, Switzerland wants to contribute to fair access to such a vaccine for all countries. The Federal Council expects that immunological protection in Switzerland, as in other countries, is likely to be low after the first epidemic wave has subsided. The worldwide demand for vaccines will therefore be correspondingly high.
The Federal Council has instructed the FDHA, together with the Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sport (DDPS), to start contract negotiations with vaccine manufacturers. The Federal Council is expecting costs of around 300 million Swiss francs for the necessary vaccine doses and to ensure their availability. It is expected that this amount be covered by credits already approved for the fight against coronavirus.
Normal working and rest periods will again apply for hospital staff
In addition, the statutory working hours and rest periods for hospital staff will again apply from the beginning of June, as the situation in most hospital departments has now normalised.
Address for enquiries
Federal Office of Public Health, Communication
+41 58 462 95 05, email@example.com
The Federal Council
General Secretariat FDHA
Federal Office of Public Health
Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports DDPS