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Swiss go ‘binge-shopping’ in Germany amid fears of border closures

As 10 Swiss cantons are now on Germany’s ‘high risk’ list, many in the region worry that cross-border shopping may be in peril.

Swiss go ‘binge-shopping’ in Germany amid fears of border closures
Swiss residents like shopping g in Germany and other bordering nations. Photo by AFP

The cantons currently on Germany’s quarantine list are Geneva, Vaud, Fribourg, Jura, Neuchâtel, Nidwalden, Schwyz, Uri, Zurich and Zug.

These regions have been added to the list because reported infection rates there are higher than Germany's threshold of 50 new cases per 100,000 residents in seven days. This means that anyone from one of these cantons must be tested on arrival in Germany.

READ MORE: Eight further Swiss cantons added to Germany's 'high risk' list 

Given the restrictions in place, as well as fears that the border between the two countries may close, “many Swiss are going shopping in Germany, causing long queues at parking lots and supermarket checkouts”, 20 Minutes news portal reported.

Tram line number 8, which connects Basel to Weil am Rhein in Germany, was also saturated over the weekend, the newspaper reported.

A photo taken in the tram by a local news channel TeleBasel, shows a man from Switzerland who bought at least 100 rolls of toilet paper in neighbouring Germany.

Photo by TeleBasel

However, there is no need for panic-buying in Germany, local officials say.

Authorities in Baden-Württemberg, the region which borders Switzerland, said that residents of Appenzell, Aargau, Basel, Basel-Country, Jura, Schaffhausen, Solothurn, St. Gallen, Thurgau and Zurich can come to Germany without being tested, as long as they stay no longer than 24 hours — more than enough time to shop.

Making a quick dash to Germany, France or Italy to do some shopping is common practice for many people living in Switzerland’s border regions.

READ ALSO: Hamsterkauf – toiler paper disappears from German supermarket shelves as panic buying returns

That’s because most things are cheaper across the border: a study conducted in 2019 shows that Switzerland’s residents pay 168 francs (156 euros) for a basket of consumer goods costing on average 107 euros in Germany, 109 euros in France, and 98 euros in Italy.

But Switzerland is not the most expensive country in Europe — Iceland and Norway are even costlier, the study found.


 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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