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Switzerland: Parts of Germany, Italy and Austria added to coronavirus quarantine list

Switzerland has expanded its mandatory quarantine list, adding parts of Germany, Italy and Austria - as well as seven other countries. Germany’s two largest cities have been placed on the list.

Switzerland: Parts of Germany, Italy and Austria added to coronavirus quarantine list
Parts of Germany, Austria and Italy have been added to the list. Image: GIAN EHRENZELLER / POOL / AFP

Switzerland on Friday expanded its list of ‘high risk’ countries and regions from which arrivals will be required to quarantine. 

Regions of Germany, Austria and Italy have been added to the list.

In addition, the countries of Georgia, Iran, Jordan, Canada, Russia, Slovakia and Tunisia have been added to the list. 

Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Namibia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago have been removed. 

Quarantine: How does Switzerland decide a country is 'high risk'? 

The ten-day quarantine restrictions, aimed at stemming the spread of the novel coronavirus, come into force from Monday, October 12th. 

 

 

The German city states of Berlin and Hamburg have been placed on the list. 

The Italian region of Campania – which includes the city of Naples – has been added to the list, along with Sardinia and Veneto.

Liguria is the only other region of Italy on the list, having previously been added on September 28th. 

UPDATE: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's quarantine rules 

Arrivals from the Austrian states of Burgenland and Salzburg will also be required to quarantine. Vienna has been on the list since September 11th, while Upper Austria and Lower Austria were added on September 28th

Switzerland is continuing to exempt immediate border regions in neighbouring countries from the quarantine requirements.

When placed on the list on September 14th, France and Austria were broken up into regions rather than considered as a whole country due to the importance of the border regions to the Swiss economy. 

In making the announcement, Swiss health minister Alain Berset effectively implied that border regions would remain exempt from quarantine requirements due to the economic and social connections which span both sides of the border.

The government in Bern said earlier this month it was seeking a “pragmatic” approach by exempting areas impacted by heavy cross-border trade, and which are home to many who cross over daily to work in Switzerland.

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HEALTH

Reader question: Can Brits in Switzerland donate blood?

For many years, people coming from the United Kingdom were banned from donating their blood in Switzerland. This is what the situation is right now.

Reader question: Can Brits in Switzerland donate blood?

The ‘blood ban’ that extended to British citizens or those of any nationality who had lived in the UK (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland), was implemented for safety purposes.

The reason was the so-called mad cow disease (BSE), which was particularly rampant in Great Britain in the 1980s and 1990s.

Many people contracted and even died from the cattle-borne condition known scientifically as Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.

It is believed that one in 2,000 people in the UK is a carrier of the disease. 

While most of them got BSE from eating contaminated beef, “experience tells us that the disease could be transmitted from human to human via blood”, according to a BBC report.

As a result, a number of governments, including the Swiss, prohibited people from the UK to donate blood.

However, this rule is no longer in force in Switzerland.

According to Geneva’s university hospital (HUG), which is a member of the national blood transfusion network Blutspende and follows the same rules, only people who had lived in the UK between 1980 and 1996 for more than six months at a stretch still can’t donate blood.

This is a period when the BSE outbreak was at its worst in the UK.

If you had lived in Great Britain prior to or after that date, you can safely donate your blood.

Have there been any BSE cases in Switzerland?

About 465 cases had been reported in Switzerland between 1990 and 2020, with less than 20 deaths.

There are still isolated cases of BSE throughout Europe, but they are no longer a cause for as much concern as previously.

Can everyone donate blood in Switzerland?

Gay men are still not allowed to do so.

Under Swiss law, any man who has had sex with another man is prevented from donating blood for 12 months — the legislation was introduced during the the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s, while the 12-month rule was introduced in 2017.

However, in March 2020, the National Council’s Commission for Social Security and Health said the rule was “no longer appropriate” and filed a motion to rescind it. 

READ MORE: Switzerland to clear way for gay and bisexual men to donate blood

Who else is prevented from donating blood?

According to Blutspende, these medical and other conditions disqualify people from donating blood in Switzerland:

  • Positive test for HIV (AIDS), syphilis, hepatitis C and hepatitis B
  • Prostitution
  • Past or present drug use by injection
  • Blood transfusion after 01.01.1980

These reasons could be a cause for deferral though not an outright ban:

  • Stay during the past six months in a region where malaria is endemic, without any health problem (in case of illness with fever, tell the doctor at the blood donation centre).
  • Suffering from a sexually transmitted disease during the past 12 months
  • Change of sexual partner during the past four months
  • Sexual intercourse with multiple partners during the past 12 months
  • Stay of six months or longer in the past 12 months in countries with a high HIV-prevalence

More information about blood donation in Switzerland can be found here.

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