SHARE
COPY LINK

HEALTH

Norway introduces quarantine for arrivals from France and Switzerland

Anyone arriving from Switzerland and France will now have to quarantine when they get to Norway.

Norway introduces quarantine for arrivals from France and Switzerland
Photo: JOSE JORDAN / STR / AFP

Norwegian authorities announced on Thursday that arrivals from Switzerland will be required to quarantine on arrival for ten days as of Saturday, August 8th. 

Infections have risen in Switzerland in recent days, with the numbers approaching 200 per day over the past week for the first time in months. 

 

 

In addition to adding Switzerland to the lists, quarantines will also be required for arrivals from France, Monaco and the Czech Republic, along with some regions of Sweden. 

Belgium and Spain were already on Norway's list of so-called 'red' quarantine-applicable countries.

The quarantine must last for a minimum of ten days. 

Geneva a new hotspot

On Monday, August 3rd, the number of new infections per 100,000 residents in Geneva crossed the 100 mark, reaching 103 per 100,000 for the past 14 days. 

The mark is well above the Swiss government’s ‘high risk’ classification of 60 per 100,000 – meaning that if Geneva was a separate country, residents would be forced to quarantine upon entering the rest of Switzerland. 

On Saturday August 1st, Belgium banned travel to and from Geneva, along with Valais and Vaud, as a result of the rising infections, although Valais and Vaud were removed from the list on Wednesday, August 5th.

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

Nicola Low, epidemiologist at the University of Bern, told Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes “the infection figures refer to an entire country. On average, they are lower in Switzerland than in the countries on the quarantine list.”

“Geneva is currently a hotspot. If Geneva were a country, the FOPH would have to put it on the quarantine list.”

In one of Europe’s wealthiest regions with excellent health care – not to mention the headquarters of the World Health Organisation – how did it get so bad? 

Editor's note: a previous version of this article erroneously included Poland in the listed of Norway's 'red' countries. This has been corrected.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

COVID-19

OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

After several months of a relatively low number of coronavirus cases in Switzerland, the rate of infections rose by over 22 percent in a span of seven days this week. What measures are Swiss health officials planning to prevent a new wave?

OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

The Swiss government has said that “further waves of infections are to be expected in the fall/winter of 2022/2023″.

As in previous waves, “the main objective of managing the pandemic is to prevent an overload of the health system. It is currently difficult to predict the magnitude of the waves of infection and, therefore, the burden on the healthcare system”, it added.

According to current estimates, “it can be assumed that ordinary structures will be sufficient to manage the situation”.

However, unless new, deadly variants emerge in the near future, health officials  expect the new wave to be milder than the ones  that struck in the winter of 2020 and 2021.

There are several reasons for this optimism:

Higher immunity

Due to vaccinations and infections, “it is estimated that 97 percent of the Swiss population has been in contact with the virus”, which means that “immunity within the population is currently high”, authorities said.

Lighter course

This means that unlike the early Covid strains like Alpha and Delta, which were highly virulent, the latest dominant mutation — Omicron and its subvariants — while highly contagious, are also less dangerous for most people.

New vaccines

The new version of the Moderna vaccine, which should better target certain sub-variants of Omicron, will be rolled in Switzerland from October 10th.

Compared to the original vaccine, which was effective mostly against early strains and offered no protection against Omicron, “the new vaccine produces a stronger immune response against the Omicron variants BA.1 and BA.4/5″, according to the drug regulatory body, Swissmedic.

READ MORE: BREAKING: Switzerland approves new Covid-19 boosters

Is the government planning any specific measures this winter?

While the severity of the new wave is not yet known, authorities have made several ‘just-in-case’ provisions by, for instance, extending the Covid-19 law until June 2024.

This legislation, which was approved in a referendum in November 2021, allows the Federal Council to maintain and apply emergency measures that are necessary to manage the pandemic. Without the extension, ithe law would lapse in December of this year.

READ MORE: Covid-19 law: How Switzerland reacted to the referendum results

“No one wants to reactivate the Covid law. But after two years of the pandemic, we have understood that we must be ready”, said MP Mattea Meyer.

While no mask mandates or other restrictions are being discussed at this time, the re-activated legislation would allow the authorities to quickly introduce any measures they deem necessary, according to the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

More preparations from the cantons

As it would be up to the cantons to apply measures set by the federal government, some have asked that financing be made available in case regional hospitals have to again accommodate patients from other cantons.

They are also making sure enough intensive care beds are ready for Covid patients.

What about the Covid certificate and tracing?

Though it is no longer used in Switzerland, the certificate continues to be required abroad.

The government will ensure its international compatibility.

The legal basis for the SwissCovid tracking app will also remain in force and can be reactivated during the winter of 2023/2024, if necessary.

MPs are also debating possible rules to be enforced for cross-border workers in the event of border closures.

SHOW COMMENTS