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Norway’s Covid-19 travel rules: Switzerland amongst next group of likely ‘red’ countries

Increasing coronavirus infections in Switzerland, Poland and the Czech Republic are likely to result in Norway applying travel restrictions to the countries this week.

Norway’s Covid-19 travel rules: Switzerland amongst next group of likely 'red' countries
The Jet d'Eau fountain in Geneva. Photo: AFP

The move was signalled on Monday by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), which published similar notifications in July before restrictions were applied to travellers from Spain and Belgium.

Norway's health authorities designated EEA and Schengen countries as ‘green' or ‘red’ depending on current infection rates. To remain ‘green’, the figure must be under 20 infections per 100,000 residents in total over the past two weeks.

Once a country is ‘red', the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against travel that is not strictly necessary to that country, and self-quarantine is required for travellers returning or arriving from it. This also means people cannot travel from 'red' countries to Norway for tourism.

READ ALSO: UPDATED: MAP: Which countries are open for tourism to and from Norway?

NIPH said on Monday that it would recommend travel advisories for Switzerland and the Czech Republic to be changed to ‘red’ at the next update scheduled for later this week, unless any change in the situation occurs in the meantime. Poland should also be “assessed”, according to the NIPH statement.

The final decision on travel advice is taken by the government based on NIPH assessments.

Switzerland and the Czech Republic have both exceeded the 20 per 100,000 resident infections threshold, resulting in  the Norwegian public health authority's forthcoming recommendation.

 

Poland is reporting an ongoing increase and infections and is currently at 17.9 per 100,000 residents.

The figures come from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, the EU agency monitoring the data.

“New figures show that Switzerland is at 22.9 and Czech Republic 26.8 new Covid-19 infections per 100,000 residents for the last 14 days, and the trend is increasing. We are therefore now notifying that, unless the situation changes, NIPH will recommend that Switzerland and Czech Republic become ‘red’ countries and thereby encompassed by quarantine rules,” NIPH head of department Line Vold said in the statement.

Updated quarantine rules and travel advice normally comes into effect at midnight on Friday.

“We also stress the general travel advice: everyone should think carefully about whether they should travel. All travel can increase the risk of coronavirus infection and the situation at your destination can change quickly,” Vold said.

“Everyone who travels should therefore make themselves aware of the local situation. People in risk groups should think particularly carefully about whether to travel,” the director continued.

Arrivals in Norway from Switzerland, the Czech Republic or Poland before the countries ‘turn red’ will not be subject to the quarantine rule but are asked to be particularly alert for symptoms of Covid-19, get a test if necessary and maintain a social distance of at least one metre.

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TRAVEL

What is the fine for not filling out Switzerland’s Covid arrival form?

There is one essential form all travellers to Switzerland must fill out, but many don’t. If caught, border guards will hand out fines.

A 100-franc fine could be imposed on those who don’t fill out the Personal Locator Form
Important paperwork: Switzerland-bound travellers must fill out the PLF form or risk getting fined. Photo by Zurich Airport

With constantly changing travel rules, it is difficult to keep up with all the regulations that need to be followed to enter Switzerland (and all the other countries, for that matter).

Since September 20th, everyone arriving in Switzerland, regardless of their country of origin, mode of transport, or vaccination status, must fill out the electronic Personal Location Form (PLF).

Once filled out and registered online, you will receive a QR code which you will have to show when entering Switzerland.

However, some people may be unaware of the requirement and enter the country without this form.

READ MORE: Here is the form you need to enter Switzerland

Checks are done randomly, so many travellers slip in without having filled this form. But if caught, you will have to pay a 100-franc fine.

So far, 200 people had to pay this fine, according to Tamedia media group.

The only people exempted from this rule are transit passengers, long-haul lorry drivers transporting goods across borders,  children under 16, cross-border workers, and residents of border areas.

The PLF requirement is an addition to other travel regulations the Federal Council implemented in September:

Two tests to enter Switzerland are now required for the unvaccinated and unrecovered.

Unvaccinated arrivals and those who have not contracted and recovered from the virus in the past six months must show two negative tests. 

The first proof should be presented when arriving in Switzerland.  Then, four to seven days later, travellers will have to undergo another test, which they must pay for themselves.

Both PCR and antigen results are accepted.

These rules only apply to arrivals from nations not on the Switzerland’s high-risk list. As the United States and United Kingdom are considered high risk, only vaccinated people from those countries can arrive in Switzerland.

This article contains more information on the rules which apply. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s new travel and Covid certificate rules?

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