UPDATE: Switzerland’s expanded quarantine list will apply retrospectively

Switzerland on Wednesday added several 'high-risk' countries to its mandatory quarantine list and confirmed late on Wednesday that quarantines would apply retroactively.

UPDATE: Switzerland's expanded quarantine list will apply retrospectively

On Wednesday, July 22nd, the Federal Office of Public Health updated the list, adding 15 countries and removing two – Sweden and Belarus – from the list. 

READ: Can I get a refund if Switzerland puts my destination on its quarantine list? 

There are now 42 countries from which arrivals must quarantine when entering Switzerland. 

Originally, the government said the newly listed countries would be subject to a quarantine from midnight on July 22nd.

However, in an interview late on Wednesday, Stefan Kuster from the Federal Office of Public Health said people who had already returned from the added countries would be required to quarantine. 

READ: These countries have been added to Switzerland's mandatory quarantine list

Speaking with Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes, Kuster said the quarantine would apply to people who travelled to any of the countries before they were announced – or to anyone who has returned home from these countries recently. 

“The regulation applies retrospectively”, said Kuster. 

“When you go on vacation, you have to be aware that things can go wrong.”

Effectively, this means that anyone who has returned from these countries recently must go into quarantine as of midnight on July 22nd, until at ten days from their arrival date. 

For example, someone who returned from Mexico or Bosnia and Herzegovina on July 20th and has already been in the community must go into quarantine from midnight until July 30th. 

Which countries were added to the list? 

In total, 15 countries or territories were added to the list, the majority of which came from outside Europe. 

These are (in order of highest infection rate to lowest infection rate): Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Kazakstan, Costa Rica, Maldives, Palestine, Guatemala, Suriname, Eswatini, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ecuador, Mexico, El Salvador and the United Arab Emirates.  

Which countries were removed? 

Sweden and Belarus were removed from the list. 

Sweden had been added due to its high infection rate, a result of the country's refusal to follow its neighbours into lockdown. 

Sweden last week retaliated by issuing travel advice to its citizens to avoid Switzerland, which the government admitted was made as a political move

In an interview with the Tages Anzeiger on Monday, head infectious disease specialist from St Gallen Hospital Pietro Vernazza called for Sweden to be removed from the list. 

Sweden's infection rate has plunged in recent weeks and now sits just below the criteria limit, with 57 infections per 100,000 inhabitants. 

Which countries are already on the list? 

Adding the new countries to those previously on the list – while removing Sweden and Belarus – the current list of 42 countries is as follows:

Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Israel, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kosovo, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Oman, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Suriname, Serbia, South Africa, Turks and Caicos Islands, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. 

Editor's note: Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice. 


Member comments

  1. are the authorities stupid ? Don’t they realize that someone who has already been here for a few days has no point of going into quarantine now.. hours

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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