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The requirement was put in place for those returning to Switzerland from countries considered as unsafe because of the high number of Covid-19 infections there.
These nations are 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 the United States.
People from these regions must inform local health authorities of their arrival in Switzerland and stay in quarantine at home for 10 days, without going out or receiving guests.
But according to NZZ am Sonntag, less than half of the people returning from these countries actually self-quarantine.
Based on official numbers, the newspaper calculated that some 6,000 people arrived from countries at risk in recent weeks. But only 2,328 reported their return to cantonal health authorities and complied with the quarantine requirement.
The authorities initially said that informing the local health department of one’s return from a country at risk would be voluntary and based on individual and social responsibility.
However, given the wide non-compliance with the quarantine rule, officials now say they will carry out random checks on flights and buses arriving in Switzerland.
Patrick Mathys, the head of The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) told RTS television that passenger lists from 20 to 30 weekly flights arriving from risk countries are now being given to the cantons.
Cantonal health offices will then follow up on the lists to ensure that travellers are quarantined.
“I think we need to send a signal that at least random checks are taking place”, said Basel cantonal doctor Thomas Steffen.
FOPH estimated that about 10 percent of coronavirus cases in Switzerland are imported by people returning from abroad.
Those found not to respect the quarantine requirement will be fined up to 10,000 francs.