Swiss cabinet extends quarantine, work-from-home rules into February

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ZURICH, Jan 19 (Reuters) – Switzerland will extend until the end of February coronavirus quarantine and work-from-home rules and plans to keep until the end of March other curbs on public life it tightened last month while trying to avoid another lockdown as the coronavirus pandemic rages, the government said on Wednesday.

Those measures included the need for people to prove they have been vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19 to gain entry to many indoor venues, as well as making work from home mandatory.

The cabinet last week proposed extending all the restrictions until the end of March but encountered resistance from regional authorities who wanted a shorter duration.

It also said people who have been vaccinated on recovered from COVID-19 will no longer need to present a negative test result to enter the country as of Jan. 22.

Switzerland this month halved its quarantine time to five days to help cope with a wave of coronavirus infections that threatens to hamstring the economy as tens of thousands more people get infected every day.

Officials worry that the wave fuelled by the highly transmissible Omicron variant could swamp the health care system in a country where only two-thirds of the population has got two jabs and just 35% has had a booster shot.

National authorities have reported nearly 1.8 million confirmed infections on Switzerland and tiny neighbour Liechtenstein since the pandemic broke out in early 2020. More than 12,000 have died of the ailment.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi)

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