NRP 80 statement on the revision of the Epidemics Act

The Federal Council wants to improve the Epidemics Act. As part of the consultation, NRP 80 has emphasised that both the medical and the social dimension need to be taken into account when battling a pandemic.

The National Research Programme "Covid-19 in Society" (NRP 80) welcomes the Federal Council's plan to improve the regulatory framework for containing communicable diseases. The experiences and lessons learned from the Covid-19 pandemic should be taken into account. NRP 80 took the opportunity to comment on the planned partial revision of the Epidemics Act (EpidA) as part of the consultation process.

A holistic view of the pandemic

NRP 80 believes that a pandemic must not only be fought at the medical level, but also at the societal and political level. In addition to avoiding direct health effects and the transmission of pathogens, the focus should also be on how a health crisis indirectly affects individuals, families, communities, businesses and social coexistence. NRP 80 therefore considers it essential to distinguish between the direct and indirect effects of a pandemic in the EpidA. The law should not be limited to a purely epidemiological approach, but should take a holistic approach to dealing with a pandemic. In its statement, NRP 80 also proposes measures to better identify and support disadvantaged population groups.

From the point of view of NRP 80, it is also necessary for the federal government and the cantons to prepare for an imminent information crisis ("infodemic") on the basis of the EpidA. This is in line with the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) and will make it easier to deal with the flood of information, some of which may be false or misleading. Finally, NRP 80 supports the option put forward by the Federal Council to enshrine simple and quickly available financial support for companies in the EpidA. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the benefits of such measures and showed that the conditions envisaged for the reimbursement of funds in the event of a crisis on the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic are adequate.

Participative process

NRP 80's statement on the partial revision of the Epidemics Act was developed in a participatory process at the NRP 80 annual conference on 7/8 March 2024. Around 100 scientists took part in the discussion.