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QUARANTINE

UPDATE: Which countries are currently on Switzerland’s quarantine list?

Due to changes in infection numbers, Swiss authorities is frequently updating its list of high-risk nations.

UPDATE: Which countries are currently on Switzerland's quarantine list?
Arrivals from high-risk areas must quarantine for 10 days. Photo by AFP.

Travellers from the following regions and countries will be required to quarantine for ten days after arriving in Switzerland. 

Please note that from June 28th, Switzerland is expected to replace the following system with a different one which allows entry from both inside and outside the Schengen area to vaccinated travellers and those who have recovered from the virus. 

This plan, which is outlined here, is currently under consultation but is expected to be approved and implemented from June 28th. A decision will be made on June 23rd. 

Under the rules in place since February 8th, people can leave quarantine after just seven days. More information is available at the following link. 

Seven days: How to leave quarantine early in Switzerland 

Regions of neighbouring countries on Switzerland’s quarantine list

From May 20th, the Austrian states of Salzburg and Upper Austria have been removed, meaning that no parts of Austria are now on the list. 

The French regions of Bretagne and region Nouvelle-Aquitaine have also been removed, while Italy’s Basilicata is no longer on the list. 

Other European nations which have been removed include Hungary, Poland and Serbia, while Qatar and the Palestinian Territories have also been taken off the list. 

On April 26th, India was added to the list with immediate effect due to the prevalence of a mutation of the virus there. 

The full list is included below. 

For countries that share a border with Switzerland, only regions have been placed on the list. For countries that do not share a border with Switzerland, the entire country has been put on the list. 

France

Center-Val de Loire region, Hauts-de-France region, Île-de-France region, Normandy region, Occitanie region, Pays de la Loire region and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.

Italy

Apulia region and the Campania region.  

Germany

Thuringia and Saxony. 

Please click here for the official updated list. 

The countries on Switzerland’s quarantine list

The following countries are on the list as at May 20th: Andorra, Argentina, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Cape Verde Islands, Chile, Columbia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cyprus, Egypt, Estonia, Georgia, India, Iran, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Mongolia, Nepal, Netherlands, Paraguay, Sweden, Seychelles, Slovenia, South Africa, Tanzania, Turkey and Uruguay. 

Why are some countries banned, whereas in other cases regions are banned? 

Switzerland imposes the quarantine requirement only on certain areas or regions of bordering nations rather than on entire countries.

UPDATED: Who can enter Switzerland right now? 

The reason is “the close economic, social and cultural ties that exist with neighbouring countries. The incidence of infections is examined in individual areas rather than in the country as a whole”, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) said. 

This is only for countries that share a border with Switzerland.

Quarantine is compulsory for people arriving from countries and regions where the incidence of infections exceeds Switzerland’s by more than 60, which is just over 360 cases per 100,000 inhabitants as at February 10th, 2021. 

More information is available here. 

What exactly does a quarantine entail?

You must announce your arrival to health authorities in your canton of residence within 48 hours.

You must then stay in your home or another suitable accommodation for 10 days, without going out or receiving guests.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s quarantine rules? 

Anyone who doesn’t comply could be fined up to 10,000 francs.

Also note that a negative Covid test doesn’t exempt you from having to quarantine – but it can help you leave quarantine after seven rather than ten days. 

However, some travellers are exempted from the requirement — for example those who are coming to Switzerland for an important work reason that can’t be cancelled or rescheduled, individuals travelling for an important medical reason that can’t be postponed, and transit passengers who have spent less than 24 hours in a country or area with an increased risk of infection.

As the epidemiological situation around the world is constantly changing, the list is updated every 14 days.

How has this changed over time?

On March 25th, along with the US and the UK, the countries of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Ireland, Qatar, Lithuania and St. Lucia have been removed.

In France, the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region was removed on the 25th of March while in Italy, the Apulia region has been taken off the list.

Greece, Jamaica, Paraguay, Tanzania and the Ukraine were added on April 5th.

Several regions of neighbouring countries were added from March 22nd: Thuringia (Germany), Corsica (France), Basilicata, Lazio and Veneto (Italy), Burgenland, Upper Austria and Vienna (Austria).

Switzerland also decided that several countries would be added to the list effective March 22nd: Belgium, Palestine, Bulgaria, Jordan, Qatar, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Uruguay and Cyprus. 

Several regions of France and Italy, two states in Germany, along with Albania, Bahrain, Columbia, Serbia, Seychelles, St Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and the UAE were added on February 10th. 

The state of Saxony (Sachsen), the Veneto region of Italy and the nation of Cyprus were removed on February 10th. 

Ten countries — Cyprus, Estonia, Israel, Latvia, Lebanon, Malta, Monaco, Portugal, Slovakia and Spain — will also be placed on the quarantine list from February 1st.

Brazil was added to the list on January 21st, while Croatia, Denmark, Georgia, Luxembourg and Serbia were removed from it.

Countries that were on the list before February 1st and remain on the list are: Andorra, Czech Republic, Ireland, Lithuania, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Panama, San Marino, Slovenia, Sweden, South Africa, United Kingdom and the United States. 

From March 25th, Switzerland has removed the United States and the United Kingdom from the list, along with Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Ireland, Qatar, Lithuania and St. Lucia.

In France, the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region has been removed, while in Italy, the Apulia region has been taken off the list.

From April 5th, Greece, Jamaica, Paraguay, Tanzania and the Ukraine will be added to the list. More information is available here. 

As The Local Switzerland reported here, several countries and regions were also removed on April 19th. 

The French island of Corsica has been removed, along with the Italian regions of Abruzzo, Basilicata, Molise and Umbria.

Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Jamaica and Albania have been removed. 

A handful of new countries have been added as of May 3rd. This includes Mexico, Egypt, Qatar and the Cape Verde Islands. 

The Maldives was removed from May 3rd. 

From May 17th, a handful of new countries were added to the list

This includes Costa Rica, Georgia, Iran, Columbia, Latvia, Moldavia and Mongolia. 

The Basilicata region of Italy has also been added to the list. 

Several areas were removed on May 6th. 

The countries of Armenia, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Montenegro, North Macedonia, San Marino, the Czech Republic and the Ukraine have been removed from the list.

The regions of Emilia Romagna, Friuli and Tuscany in Italy along with Burgenland, Carinthia, Lower Austria and Vienna in Austria have also been removed. 

Note: This story has been updated to reflect changes in the Swiss government’s ‘high risk’ list. 

Member comments

  1. If you are fully vaccinated and provide a Covid free test on arrival in Zurich airport from Malta and you are NOT going to stay in Zurich but picking up a hired car to go to Colmar, France, do you still have to quarantine, please?

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COVID-19

OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

After several months of a relatively low number of coronavirus cases in Switzerland, the rate of infections rose by over 22 percent in a span of seven days this week. What measures are Swiss health officials planning to prevent a new wave?

OUTLOOK: Could Switzerland introduce Covid rules this autumn?

The Swiss government has said that “further waves of infections are to be expected in the fall/winter of 2022/2023″.

As in previous waves, “the main objective of managing the pandemic is to prevent an overload of the health system. It is currently difficult to predict the magnitude of the waves of infection and, therefore, the burden on the healthcare system”, it added.

According to current estimates, “it can be assumed that ordinary structures will be sufficient to manage the situation”.

However, unless new, deadly variants emerge in the near future, health officials  expect the new wave to be milder than the ones  that struck in the winter of 2020 and 2021.

There are several reasons for this optimism:

Higher immunity

Due to vaccinations and infections, “it is estimated that 97 percent of the Swiss population has been in contact with the virus”, which means that “immunity within the population is currently high”, authorities said.

Lighter course

This means that unlike the early Covid strains like Alpha and Delta, which were highly virulent, the latest dominant mutation — Omicron and its subvariants — while highly contagious, are also less dangerous for most people.

New vaccines

The new version of the Moderna vaccine, which should better target certain sub-variants of Omicron, will be rolled in Switzerland from October 10th.

Compared to the original vaccine, which was effective mostly against early strains and offered no protection against Omicron, “the new vaccine produces a stronger immune response against the Omicron variants BA.1 and BA.4/5″, according to the drug regulatory body, Swissmedic.

READ MORE: BREAKING: Switzerland approves new Covid-19 boosters

Is the government planning any specific measures this winter?

While the severity of the new wave is not yet known, authorities have made several ‘just-in-case’ provisions by, for instance, extending the Covid-19 law until June 2024.

This legislation, which was approved in a referendum in November 2021, allows the Federal Council to maintain and apply emergency measures that are necessary to manage the pandemic. Without the extension, ithe law would lapse in December of this year.

READ MORE: Covid-19 law: How Switzerland reacted to the referendum results

“No one wants to reactivate the Covid law. But after two years of the pandemic, we have understood that we must be ready”, said MP Mattea Meyer.

While no mask mandates or other restrictions are being discussed at this time, the re-activated legislation would allow the authorities to quickly introduce any measures they deem necessary, according to the evolution of the epidemiological situation.

More preparations from the cantons

As it would be up to the cantons to apply measures set by the federal government, some have asked that financing be made available in case regional hospitals have to again accommodate patients from other cantons.

They are also making sure enough intensive care beds are ready for Covid patients.

What about the Covid certificate and tracing?

Though it is no longer used in Switzerland, the certificate continues to be required abroad.

The government will ensure its international compatibility.

The legal basis for the SwissCovid tracking app will also remain in force and can be reactivated during the winter of 2023/2024, if necessary.

MPs are also debating possible rules to be enforced for cross-border workers in the event of border closures.

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