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TRAVEL

Switzerland imposes retroactive quarantine on arrivals from UK

Switzerland has announced that anyone who arrived in the country from the UK and South Africa in recent days must now go into quarantine.

Switzerland imposes retroactive quarantine on arrivals from UK
AFP

The move was taken to prevent the spread of a new strain of coronavirus that has been identified in the south of England is is believed to be much more contagious than the other strains of Covid-19.

South Africa is also included in the ban, as the new virus variant is spreading through that country as well.

The Federal Council has introduced a general entry ban from today for all foreign nationals seeking to enter Switzerland from the UK and South Africa. This is intended in particular to stop travel from these countries for tourism purposes.

“All persons who have entered Switzerland from these two countries since 14 December must go into quarantine for 10 days”, the Federal Council said in a statement.

Switzerland's Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) suspended air links between the UK and Switzerland from midnight Sunday. 

READ MORE: TRAVEL: Switzerland suspends flights with UK over new Covid strain

However, a temporary derogation from the flight ban is being considered for persons resident in the UK or South Africa currently staying in Switzerland so that they may return home, authorities said.

“That is also the case for persons resident in Switzerland currently staying in those two countries. However, it is imperative that such return journeys do not lead to infections”.

South Africa is also included in the ban, as the new virus variant is spreading through that country as well.

“The new strain is significantly more contagious than the known kind,” FOCA said in a press release on Sunday. 

More than 60 flights from the UK — bringing an estimated 10,000 tourists —landed at the Geneva airport this weekend before the ban was introduced, RTS public broadcaster reported.

Switzerland also immediately withdrew freedom of movement privileges from British nationals, which were due to expire at the end of year in any case, as Britain leaves the European Union. 

 “Persons from the UK are therefore subject to a general ban on entering Switzerland,” it said.

The government added: “No cases of the new strain have so far been identified in Switzerland.”

 

 

 

 

 

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TRAVEL

What is the fine for not filling out Switzerland’s Covid arrival form?

There is one essential form all travellers to Switzerland must fill out, but many don’t. If caught, border guards will hand out fines.

A 100-franc fine could be imposed on those who don’t fill out the Personal Locator Form
Important paperwork: Switzerland-bound travellers must fill out the PLF form or risk getting fined. Photo by Zurich Airport

With constantly changing travel rules, it is difficult to keep up with all the regulations that need to be followed to enter Switzerland (and all the other countries, for that matter).

Since September 20th, everyone arriving in Switzerland, regardless of their country of origin, mode of transport, or vaccination status, must fill out the electronic Personal Location Form (PLF).

Once filled out and registered online, you will receive a QR code which you will have to show when entering Switzerland.

However, some people may be unaware of the requirement and enter the country without this form.

READ MORE: Here is the form you need to enter Switzerland

Checks are done randomly, so many travellers slip in without having filled this form. But if caught, you will have to pay a 100-franc fine.

So far, 200 people had to pay this fine, according to Tamedia media group.

The only people exempted from this rule are transit passengers, long-haul lorry drivers transporting goods across borders,  children under 16, cross-border workers, and residents of border areas.

The PLF requirement is an addition to other travel regulations the Federal Council implemented in September:

Two tests to enter Switzerland are now required for the unvaccinated and unrecovered.

Unvaccinated arrivals and those who have not contracted and recovered from the virus in the past six months must show two negative tests. 

The first proof should be presented when arriving in Switzerland.  Then, four to seven days later, travellers will have to undergo another test, which they must pay for themselves.

Both PCR and antigen results are accepted.

These rules only apply to arrivals from nations not on the Switzerland’s high-risk list. As the United States and United Kingdom are considered high risk, only vaccinated people from those countries can arrive in Switzerland.

This article contains more information on the rules which apply. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s new travel and Covid certificate rules?

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