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BERN, Switzerland (LifeSiteNews)— The Swiss government has announced a proposal to lift most of the COVID restrictions currently in place in the country next month.  

“As of next week, I believe we can discuss the lifting of quarantine and home office requirements,” Swiss health minister Alain Berset told the press Friday. 

The Swiss Federal Council is expected to approve Berset’s proposal this Wednesday. 

This would mean that, as of Wednesday, people who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 will no longer be required to self-isolate. This includes people living in the same household as someone who tests positive.  

Additionally, as of February 16, so-called COVID certificates or vaccine passport requirements (referred to as the 2G rule in Switzerland and other German speaking countries) will also be scrapped. So will capacity limits for big events or maximal attendance for private gatherings.  

According to Swiss newspaper Blick, the situation in hospitals and intensive care units “has eased considerably” in Switzerland. Though COVID hospitalizations are still happening, “the cases are usually much milder.” 

This was echoed by Berset in his Friday announcement. 

“As the Federal Council has always said, these measures are only here so long as they really help in fighting the pandemic and help avoiding an overload of the hospital system,” he explained.  

It is believed the only restriction which will remain in place for some time after February 16 is the mask mandate. 

Blick reports that the announcement has generated mostly positive reactions from Swiss politicians although some, like the Swiss President of the Conference of Health Directors, Lukas Engelberger, questioned the timing of the decision. Engelberger argued that the lifting of restrictions should only take place “after the Omicron wave reaches its peak.”  

This sentiment was echoed by Dr. Andreas Widmer of the University Hospital of Basel and President of the National Center for the Prevention of Infections who warned against lifting mask mandates too soon. 

“At the moment, the mask mandate must not be lifted under any circumstance,” Widmer said, arguing that the Omicron variant could be more dangerous than is currently believed.  

Others, like Léonore Porchet, a member of the Green Party of Switzerland, have called for the immediate lifting of mask mandates, particularly for children and teenagers.  

“We have seen how much children suffer both mentally and physically when they are restricted [by these masks],” she argued.  

Switzerland’s announcement comes after several other European countries including the U.K., Denmark, Sweden and the Czech Republic have announced the lifting or easing of their COVID restrictions.