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Switzerland: Parts of Austria and Italy added to quarantine list

Switzerland has updated its mandatory quarantine list. From March 8th, Switzerland will place additional regions of Austria and Italy on the high-risk list.

The new additions to the list will apply as of March 8th. Photo: Tolga AKMEN / AFP
The new additions to the list will apply as of March 8th. Photo: Tolga AKMEN / AFP

As of March 8th, 2021, travellers from Austrian regions of Land Kärnten and Land Niederösterreich, as well as from Regione Abruzzo, Regione Campania, Regione Liguria, Regione Molise and Regione Toscana in Italy, will have to quarantine for 10 days after arriving on Switzerland.

Luxembourg has also been added to the list from March 8th.

Up until then, only arrivals from the countries on the following list will need to quarantine. 

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

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 

The official list of all the high-risk countries is here

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.

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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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