Far-right SVP calls for 14-day quarantine in Switzerland

The far-right Swiss People’s Party (SVP), Switzerland’s most popular political party, has called for a 14-day quarantine to help the country battle rising coronavirus infection rates.

Far-right SVP calls for 14-day quarantine in Switzerland
A passenger who was on board a Swiss Air flight from Zurich and who will be put in quarantine arrives at the airport in Valencia on May 21, 2020. Photo: JOSE JORDAN / STR / AFP

In a statement on Tuesday, the SVP said a compulsory two-week quarantine should be put in place for arrivals from countries with high infection rates. 

UPDATED: Where can you travel to from Switzerland – and when? 

The party said travellers from ‘coronavirus hotspots’ such as Serbia were contributing to Switzerland’s rising infection rate. 

In the statement, the SVP said it was necessary to quarantine arrivals from high-risk areas to ensure that the remaining population was protected from the virus. 

READ: Switzerland to close ‘superspreader' Zurich club

If approved, the quarantine would be implemented immediately. While the SVP has the most seats in Swiss parliament, Switzerland's other political parties have been reluctant to implement a quarantine. 

Coronavirus infections have increased in Switzerland in recent weeks, with the daily numbers rising from single figures in early June to more than 60 per day to end the month. 

A coronavirus hotspot was found in the canton of Graübunden in late June can be traced to a group of men who returned from the Serbian capital of Belgrade. 

A total of 73 people were put in quarantine due to the outbreak. 

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Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad