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HEALTH

UPDATED: Which countries have been added to Switzerland’s quarantine list?

Switzerland added seven countries to its quarantine list, while removing three others. The changes came into place on Saturday, August 8th.

UPDATED: Which countries have been added to Switzerland’s quarantine list?
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

This story is now out of date, due to new countries being added to Switzerland's quarantine list. Click here for an updated article. 

Travellers returning to Switzerland from mainland Spain will be required to quarantine themselves, the health ministry said Wednesday, adding to a list of countries seen as having heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission.

The quarantine restrictions do not apply to people returning from Spain's Canary Islands.

As well as Spain, one of the countries hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic with more than 28,000 deaths, the Swiss health ministry also added Singapore, Romania, the Bahamas, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe and Sint Maarten. 

UPDATED: Who can enter Switzerland right now? 

Some 53 countries, including Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, South Africa and the United States, are on the Swiss quarantine list.

People who have been in one of the countries deemed to have a high risk of COVID-19 infection “at any time during the 14 days before their entry into Switzerland most go directly to their accommodation” and stay put for 10 days, the ministry said.

Russia, the United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan will be removed from the list as of Saturday.

Following similar measures taken by Britain, Germany on Friday added three northern Spanish regions to its list of high-risk destinations, meaning anyone arriving from those areas will have to produce a negative coronavirus test or go into quarantine for 14 days.

Madrid said last week that there was no second wave in Spain and the country was “safe” for tourists, despite the sharp rebound in the epidemic.

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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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