26 May 2020

UPDATE (as of 26 May 2020): Information about the coronavirus (SARS CoV2)

The number of people infected by the coronavirus SARS CoV2 continues to increase in Switzerland. New measures to tackle the situation have been announced by the Federal Council on Friday, 13 March. In a first stage starting on 27 April, there will be a first easing of restrictions. The second stage of reopening started on 11 May. Please be aware that the situation may change continuously. The most up-to-date information for Switzerland can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Public Health (link below).

All events at the WTI are cancelled or substituted by online solutions until further notice. This includes seminars and face to face meetings. The reading rooms and study places in the libraries at the University, and also all study places at the WTI, are closed and unavailable.

The University of Bern does not plan to have any attended courses for the rest of the semester / before September. Examinations and assessments, which are scheduled for the spring semester 2020, will still take place this semester.

Currently, there are essentially no changes for employees outside research, lecturers and students. However, the University is examining the potential implications of stages 2 + 3 which were announced by the Federal Council on 11 May and 8 June 2020 respectively and will communicate further information as soon as possible.

Therefore, the following will continue to apply: Employees will work from home whenever possible. Meetings and discussions should be replaced by video or telephone conferences. In general, work from home rules apply through 31 July. We hope to resume more regular office presence from 1 August.

All students (PhD, MILE/TRAIL+) are to stay away, except to pick up and return necessary study materials. They may not use their desks for work until 31 July.

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The University of Bern and the WTI continue to follow the recommendations of the Swiss government. Information from the university is here (in English):


Given the WTI's international focus, we need to be careful with our travel and personal hygiene. Recommendations and information from the Swiss Federal Office of Public, including recommendations, can be found at this link (in English):


We recommend postponing planned trips in areas affected by the coronavirus, as identified at the above link. Return travelers from areas with confirmed corona cases should see a doctor in the event of symptoms of illness (cough, fever, sore throat, shortness of breath, runny nose) and point out the relevant area. If you suspect you have the virus, call the doctor in advance so that you do not spread anything unwittingly. Switzerland is also providing information at borders and airports on these points.

In general, we refer to the general flu recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health:

  • Wash hands: Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water several times a day. Avoid shaking hands.
  • Coughing or sneezing in a tissue: Hold a tissue in front of your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of the tissue in a waste bin after use and then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  • Cough or sneeze in the crook of the arm: If you do not have a handkerchief available, please cough or sneeze in the crook of your arm. This is more hygienic than putting your hands over your mouth. If you do use your hands, wash them immediately afterwards if possible with soap and water.
  • If you experience symptoms of illness (breathing difficulties, cough or fever), stay at home and contact your doctor by phone.
  • Keep your distance – for example: Protect elderly people by keeping adequate distance from them; Keep your distance when queuing or waiting in line; Keep your distance at meetings.

In the event that you are isolating yourself at home, or find yourself in a quarantine situation, please keep WTI notified (in particular, please contact Margrit Vetter; for current MILE and TRAIL+ students, please contact Zoe Pauli or Karin Rosenberg) and update us of your status.

Thank you for your collaboration!