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HEALTH

Switzerland: Fines of up to CHF10,000 to be handed out for breaching coronavirus quarantine

Switzerland’s coronavirus quarantine came into effect on Monday. Anyone breaching the quarantine requirement will be liable for fines of up to 10,000 francs.

Switzerland: Fines of up to CHF10,000 to be handed out for breaching coronavirus quarantine
A police car on the tarmac. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland put in place a quarantine from July 6th on arrivals from so-called 'high-risk' countries. On Monday, the first arrivals in Switzerland went into quarantine – including travellers from the United States and the Balkans. 

While the ten-day requirement relies on the personal responsibility of those ordered to quarantine, as The Local Switzerland reported yesterday it will be monitored by phone calls and potentially home visits

People who purposefully fail to respect the terms of the quarantine — for instance, by going out or having guests — could be liable to a fine of up to 10,000 francs. 

Q&A: What travellers to Switzerland should know about the new 10-day quarantine rule

People who negligently do so, i.e. through being unaware of the quarantine requirement, will be liable for a fine of up to 5,000 francs.

Similar fines apply when individuals intentionally or negligently put others at risk of infection. 

As reported by The Local Switzerland on Tuesday, cantonal authorities in Solothurn were considering fining a woman the maximum amount after she attended a private party of 300 people while knowingly being infected with the coronavirus. 

The fines are a significant increase on those levelled for breaches of lockdown requirements up until this point, where there was a maximum fine of CHF100. 

READ: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's new quarantine requirement

Which countries are on the list? 

Late on Thursday, the official list of high-risk countries was released. Some of the more notable countries include Sweden, Serbia, Kosovo, the United States, Israel and Russia. 

The full list is: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Belarus, Bolivia, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Chile, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Iraq, Israel, Qatar, Colombia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Moldova, North Macedonia, Oman, Panama, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Serbia, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands and thee United States.

Affected people will be informed on planes, coaches and at the borders, and must register with the local authorities once in Switzerland.

Anyone who appears to be sick must not be allowed to board buses, trains or flights to Switzerland. 

Member comments

  1. Me and my family are currently visiting Sweden ( we have a summer house here) And we have a dog back in Switzerland. As of information given by the corona hotline we are not allowed to take our dog out for a walk wen we get back while we are in quarantine. Isn’t that crazy! How are we supposed to take care of the dog?

  2. @Jennie
    You chose to visit a high risk during a pandemic. Why should others risk to get infection because of your choice?

    Maybe you can sneak out during the night with the dog? Ask a neighbour? Friends?

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HEALTH

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
 

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