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UPDATE: What restrictions do travellers from Switzerland face?

With quarantine requirements in Switzerland and abroad, is it still possible to travel to foreign countries?

UPDATE: What restrictions do travellers from Switzerland face?
Whether you travel by plane, train or automobile, check entry and return conditions before you travel abroad. Photo by AFP

The answer to this questions is ‘yes, but’…

There are no entry restrictions for Swiss residents in any of the Schengen zone nations at the moment. 

However, keep in mind that, depending on where you go and where you return from, there may be quarantine requirements in place.

For instance, since Swiss authorities have mandated a 10-day quarantine for people coming from nine French regions, you might want to think twice about going to these areas right now.

In fact, daily train service to and from Geneva and Zurich to Paris is being reduced as of September 28th due to quarantine requirements in Switzerland.

READ MORE: Train links between Switzerland and Paris to be reduced 

The French capital is located in Île-de-France, one of the regions on Switzerland’s ‘high-risk’ list. 

However, other areas of France, including the border regions such as Haute-Savoie, Ain and Haut-Rhin, are safe for travel and there’s no quarantine upon return for the time being.

As Vienna is also considered a risky destination, you have to be ready to quarantine when you return to Switzerland (although the rest of Austria is fine), and the same is true for Spain.

SWISS airlines cancelled its nonstop morning flights from Geneva to London until the end of October, as the UK requires people from Switzerland to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the country.

SWISS also flies (sometimes with its codeshare partners Lufthansa and United) to four US cities: New York, Miami, Chicago, and San Francisco.

However, as foreign nationals can’t enter the US at the moment, only American citizens, permanent residents, and other authorised persons, will be admitted. 

But even if you do manage to get into the United States, you will have to quarantine for 10 days when returning to Switzerland.

It is impossible to predict which places are safe for travel, as periodic flare-ups of COVID-19 in various countries and regions have prompted authorities to take restrictive measures from one day to another.

The best you can do is follow each country’s guidelines for foreign tourists, as well as train and airline sites to see which services are suspended, to ensure you can get home.

Also, consult the site of the Federal Office of Pubic Health to see what quarantine requirements are in place, even though they too may change quickly.

It is certainly easier to travel now than it was several months ago, but nothing should be taken for granted.

 


 

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QUARANTINE

Switzerland to cut quarantine period for vaccinated and extend current measures

Switzerland will shorten the obligatory quarantine for anyone testing positive for Covid to five days, while extending the current measures until at least March. The duration of immunity for the Covid certificate will also be shortened.

Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset gestures during a press conference.. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset gestures during a press conference.. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Switzerland on Wednesday announced a range of changes to the existing Covid measures. 

As had been widely reported ahead of the announcement, the Covid quarantine period for positive cases was shortened from the current ten days to five for vaccinated and recovered people. 

People can leave quarantine after five days, provided they are symptom free for 48 hours. Based on the new advice, it does not appear a person needs to test negative – although the government has been contacted for a confirmation on this question. 

EXPLAINED: Why did Switzerland relax Covid quarantine rules?

The quarantine change applies both to people who have tested positive and those who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive. 

“Close contact” will also be redefined. Now it will not include everyone someone with Covid has had contact with, but will be limited to the people they live with and people who had “regular and close” contact with a person who tested positive. 

The close contact quarantine will not apply to people who have had a booster in the past four months, but it will apply to those who have had two doses.

The unvaccinated will need to remain in quarantine for the original ten days. 

Cantons can decide to grant exemption to the quarantine rules. 

The duration of immunity under the rules of Switzerland’s Covid certificate will be reduced from one year to 270 days, i.e. nine months.

This is due to the belief that immunity due either to vaccination or recovery declines earlier than previously thought. 

The 270-day requirement applies to those who are fully vaccinated or to people who have previously had the virus.

This shortening of the time period for the validity of the Covid certificate will apply from February 1st, as with the EU’s rules for international travel. 

The current Covid measures, which are outlined in the link below, will also be extended. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s current Covid measures?

While they were set to expire on January 24th, they will now be extended until March 31st. 

The government said the extension was necessary due to the situation in the country’s hospitals. 

Amid skyrocketing infection rates, the Swiss government said it had prepared additional measures which could be implemented quickly and immediately if the situation required it. 

“Should the situation in hospitals deteriorate significantly, the Federal Council can still act swiftly by imposing stricter measures such as the closure of facilities and institutions or by limiting capacity at large-scale events, regardless of the consultation,” the government said in a press release

The government is currently in consultation with experts and the cantons about these and further measures, including tighter mask rules and a change in testing rules.

This consultation will last until the 17th of January, however those listed here are expected to apply. 

For the full list of changes announced you can visit the government site HERE.

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