The number of infections with both the UK and South American variants of Covid-19 are on the rise in Switzerland, prompting authorities to introduce stricter measures for travellers.
“These rules apply to all people who are permitted to enter Switzerland. That means they also apply if you are Swiss and returning to Switzerland after being abroad”, the Federal Office of Public Health said on its website.
This is what you should know before travelling:
Fill out the form
Almost everyone who enters Switzerland must fill out the entry form online. Once this is done, you will receive a QR code which you should show at immigration and passport control if asked.
You can find the form here.
Some travellers are exempted from this requirement. They include people entering from France, Germany, Italy and Austria, as long as they are not travelling by air. This includes cross-border workers.
If you arrive from areas considered as ‘high-risk’, you don’t have to fill out the form if you transit Switzerland while transporting people or merchandise to another country.
Anyone over the age of 12 arriving by air must show a negative Covid test before departure.
You must present a negative PCR test, which is not older than 72 hours, before departure. On February 17th, the government said antigen tests would also be allowed as evidence.
You will not allowed to board the plane without it, regardless of which country you are arriving from.
A negative PCR test (or antigen test from February 17th) result must also be presented by anyone who has been in a country with an increased risk of infection, even if arriving by bus, train or car.
People under the age of 12 will not have to present a negative test or take a test on entry.
Must I have a PCR or an antigen test in Switzerland?
Antigen tests will in some cases also satisfy the entry test requirement into Switzerland. Previously, this was only PCR tests.
However, antigen tests – otherwise known as rapid tests – must have been carried out in the past 24 hours, compared with 72 hours for PCR tests.
Please click the following link for more information on antigen and PCR testing when arriving in Switzerland.
Switzerland’s existing coronavirus measures are set to expire on February 28th, meaning that the above mentioned relaxations will come into effect from March 1st.
The quarantine requirement is still in place for people, including children, arriving from high risk regions.
However, these travellers now have the possibility to reduce their quarantine from 10 to seven days if they get tested (at their own expense) on the seventh day and the PCR or antigen rapid test comes back negative.
However, people may not come out of the quarantine unless authorised to do so by their cantonal health authorities.
Until you are released from the quarantine, whether after seven or 10 days, you must remain at home, not go outside, or receive visitors.
These travellers are exempted from the quarantine requirement:
- People travelling on business for an important reason that cannot be postponed.
- People travelling for an important medical reason that cannot be postponed.
- Transit passengers who have spent less than 24 hours in a state or area with an increased risk of infection.
- Cross-border workers
What are the quarantine rules if you test positive?
Anyone with symptoms is urged to stay at home and take a Covid-19 test as soon as possible.
You must isolate yourself from the rest of your family, which means staying in a separate room and eating your meals alone. Interaction with other members of your household must be avoided.
You will remain in isolation for 10 days and must not go out.
Swiss authorities say: “In the ideal case, the cantonal office will inform you when you can end your isolation. If you do not receive instructions, your isolation must last at least 10 days.”
However if symptoms persist (apart from loss of taste or smell which can last for weeks) then it may be necessary to isolate for longer.
These are the full requirements for people in isolation in Switzerland.