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UPDATE: Who in Switzerland is exempt from France’s latest Covid-19 border restrictions?

France has tightened the rules for travellers entering from the EU and Schengen area nations, including Switzerland. Here's what you need to know.

UPDATE: Who in Switzerland is exempt from France's latest Covid-19 border restrictions?
No Covid test is needed for those crossing from Switzerland to France by car. Photo by AFP

From January 27th, France has required a negative PCR Covid test, performed in the previous 72 hours, for visitors arriving by air or boat. Those who entered the country by road or train were exempted from the test obligation.

But French authorities have further tightened entry rules from February 1st , expanding the negative test requirement to those arriving by rail or road from EU and Schengen area countries.

This means that anyone over the age of 11 arriving in France by any means of transport must have a negative PCR test and a signed “declaration of honour” (see below).

However some arrivals from Switzerland are excluded from the new testing requirements, according to France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They include: 

  • Cross-border workers returning to France from their jobs in Switzerland.
  • Lorry drivers entering France in the course of their activity
  • People living close to the border who don't travel more than 30km from their home.

This last condition means that residents of the four border cantons —Geneva, Vaud, Jura, and Basel — can continue to travel to France without a PCR test, as long as they don't travel more than 30 km from their house.

READ MORE: G-permit: How Geneva's cross-border workforce has grown 

 

The Prefecture of Haute-Savoie, which borders Geneva, said in a press release that in order to be exempted from the new requirements, cross-border workers must be able to show a proof of employment in Switzerland.

People from Switzerland, on the other hand, should have an official document showing their Swiss commune of residence (Attestation de domicile/ Wohnungsnachweis), the copy of which can be obtained for a fee from their municipality (administration communale / Gemeinde).

Both should also have their identity cards.

If you don’t fit into any of these categories, you should carry a document that can be downloaded from this site

'Declaration of honour'

Those who need are not exempt and need a negative test also need to have a “declaration on honour”, which is a somewhat archaic French term for a sworn statement certifying you don't have any symptoms of coronavirus infection, that you are not aware of having been in contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19 in the 14 days preceding the trip, and that you accept that a test can be carried out on your arrival in France.

This declaration has a legal standing and you can be penalised for making false declarations.

The documents needed for this declaration can be downloaded here.

Also, as curfew rules are currently in effect in France, all visitors who cross the border between 6 pm and 6 am must carry this document. 

Under curfew rules there are eight reasons why people can be outside their house after 6 pm, including returning from work, arriving by rail or air transport, and walking the dog. 

READ MORE: Franco-Swiss cold war breaks out over ski border car park  

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COVID-19

‘Over a million people’ in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

Though Covid has not been a nationwide problem in Switzerland during recent several months, the virus is circulating again and rates of contamination are expected to soar in the coming weeks.

'Over a million people' in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

While the new wave has not been expected to hit before fall or winter,  Swiss health officials now say 15 percent of Swiss population — more than 1 million people — could catch the virus before then.

This is a large number, considering that a total of 3.7 million people in Switzerland got infected since the beginning of the pandemic on February 24th, 2020.

“More than 80,000 new contaminations per week” are expected in the next two months, according to Tanja Stadler, the former head of the Covid-19 Task Force — much more than during the past two summers, when the rate of infections slowed down.

At the moment, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) reports 24,704 new cases in the past seven days — double of what it was in April.

“The numbers are expected to continue to rise. Note that most of infected people will not be tested, so the number of confirmed cases will be smaller on paper than in reality”, Stadler added.

Although according to FOPH, nearly all cases in Switzerland (99 percent) are caused by Omicron and its sub-variants, which are less severe that the original Covid viruses, “more vulnerable people are likely to end up in hospital, and long Covid cases are also likely to rise”, she said.

Stadler also noted that Omicron virus can’t be compared with the flu, “because we observe long-term consequences much more often during an infection with Omicron than during the flu. Also, Covid can trigger very large waves, even in summer, while large flu outbreaks are rare at this time of year”.

There is, however, some positive news.

“The most recent data shows that 97 percent of the adult population in Switzerland has antibodies against Covid thanks to vaccinations and previous infections”, Stadler said.

Also, “in the long term, things will stabilise. But in the years to come, there will probably be waves in the summer too”.

READ MORE: UPDATE: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

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