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QUARANTINE

Switzerland could revise quarantine list for travellers amid rising coronavirus infections

As the coronavirus infection rate in the country is exceeding that in many other nations, Switzerland may remove some foreign regions from its ‘high risk’ list.

Switzerland could revise quarantine list for travellers amid rising coronavirus infections
Quarantine may be abolished for arrivals from certain regions. Photo by AFP

The government first established its list at the beginning of July, when the number of Covid-19 cases was lower in Switzerland than in many other countries.

It has been updated several times since then, with some places added and others removed, depending on the health situation in each country.

Travellers arriving from these ‘risk’ areas have to go into a 10-day quarantine.

One of the government’s criteria for putting countries and individual regions on the list has been that the number of infections per 100,000 residents does not exceed 60 in those areas.

However, now that Switzerland itself has surpassed that figure by far — 693.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants have been recorded over the past two weeks — the government wants to modify the rules.

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

 

According to an article in the Blick on Tuesday, “suddenly, people find themselves locked in their homes when they return from a region where Covid-19 circulates less than in Switzerland”.

According to the newspaper, which gained access to official information about this matter, only countries or regions whose rate per 100,000 inhabitants exceeds by 60 that recorded in Switzerland would be placed on the red list.

At the moment, this means that this figure should be over 753 (693 + 60).

The latest figures from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, only Belgium (1390.9 cases), the Czech Republic (1379.8) and Luxembourg (760.4) are currently above the new limit.

The rest of Europe, including France, Italy, Germany and the UK, is in better shape.

Given the uncertain and fast evolution of Covid-19 in Europe and the world, the list would have to be revised as new data becomes available.

 

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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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