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HEALTH

Switzerland to allow UK flights from Thursday but only for certain travellers

Switzerland has announced it will re-open its airports to flights from the United Kingdom from Christmas Eve but only for certain travellers.

Switzerland to allow UK flights from Thursday but only for certain travellers
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland’s Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications (DETEC) announced on Wednesday that air traffic between Switzerland and the United Kingdom – along with South Africa – can again resume on Christmas Eve. 

On Sunday, Switzerland announced that all flight traffic should be stopped “until further notice” due to the new mutated strain of coronavirus detected in the United Kingdom. 

While that rule remains in place, from Christmas Eve there will be an exception for people who are resident in Switzerland but currently in the UK or South Africa – or those who are resident in the UK or South Africa but are currently in Switzerland – to return home for Christmas. 

“Persons resident in the UK and South Africa currently in Switzerland, and persons resident in Switzerland currently in those two countries, will be able to return home from 24 December” the statement read

Flights from Switzerland to the UK or South Africa will be permitted to leave. 

While flights to Switzerland will also be allowed to enter again, airlines must apply to the government to be allowed to enter. 

Everyone entering from a risk area will be required to quarantine. More information on the quarantine can be found here. 

Who can enter Switzerland from the UK or South Africa?

  • Only the following categories of person may travel as passengers: 
  • Swiss citizens (incl. citizens of Liechtenstein), 
  • Holders of a Swiss residence permit or type D visa from Switzerland 
  • Holders of a ‘laisser passer’ issued by a Swiss representation in hardship cases

Official information is available in English here

What are Switzerland's quarantine rules? 

Anyone required to quarantine must do so for a ten-day period. 

When arriving in Switzerland, you are required to contact the cantonal health authorities within two days. 

Even if you have evidence of a negative test, you will still be required to quarantine for ten days. 

More information is available in English here

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HEALTH

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad
 

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