For this very reason, Bern yesterday confirmed a historic paradigm shift on the side of the Federal Council: the defensive approach of the last two years, characterized by the fear, suffering from human tragedies and restrictive measures that at times have been either illogical or confusing, has finally come to a halt.

Or rather, a complete rethink in keeping with the latest scientific data. Despite the very high number of infections in the country, the isolation period has been significantly reduced even for those who tested positive, a clear sign that Omicron can no longer be treated in the same way as its predecessors, which were far more lethal. Whether the South African variant is really the tail end of the pandemic, it is too early to say: but as of today we now know that it is possible and necessary to learn to live with this virus, although there will still be bad news (especially for those who, at their own risk, refused the vaccine) and pressure on the health system, which could face challenging weeks, considering the number of those immunized is still low.

In any case, we find ourselves on the eve of a truly decisive turning point: this was declared by Alain Berset, who together with the new president Ignazio Cassis, was able to announce for the first time a dramatic change not of tactics, but of overall strategy. The long silence on the part of the Federal Council, which continued throughout the holidays in spite of the fact that the number of infections did not fall at all, suggested that the idea of not tightening the restrictive measures was somehow on the table. However, this additional step forward was not taken for granted.

It goes without saying that Switzerland, by doing so, is taking a risk: a carefully calculated risk, which is at the same time a clear opening towards the economy, which in the last twenty-two months has suffered at all levels: even recently the «strongly recommended» use of smart working has emptied the cities, not to mention the many people, possibly too many, who during the Christmas holidays found themselves, often asymptomatic, in a state of semi-confinement.

The contagiousness of Omicron remains an unavoidable fact, yet its low lethality is evident to all: this is demonstrated by the data on the hospitalizations and the intensive care occupancy rate. It is almost «another world», if compared to the one inflicted by the Delta variant. But beware of lowering your guard: Omicron is not an ordinary flu and it would be dangerous to consider it as such because, as a result, all safety standards and healthy protective habits which we have adopted, allowing us to manage the situation and avoid making it worse, would come crashing down. First and foremost, vaccines.

The change of the paradigm and the relaxation announced yesterday by Bern should instead be read as the will to return, with infinite caution, to a relative normality: an immediate «free everyone» was not proclaimed, but an encouraging signal was given. Let’s be alert, let’s continue to wear masks and respect the regulations in force, but let’s start to regain responsibility for our lives and a part of our personal freedom, and let’s go back to thinking and planning our work and our passions beyond the coronavirus. Let’s get away from the «paranoid society»: this is also the message of Berne. To be taken in the right way.

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