Switzerland to lift Covid testing and quarantine requirements for some travellers

Switzerland to lift Covid testing and quarantine requirements for some travellers
No more testing or quarantine requirements for some travellers. Photo: Zurich Airport
Just as summer holidays are around the corner, travellers coming or returning to Switzerland from abroad will face fewer restrictions.

With ever-changing rules regarding international travel, figuring out what measures are in place for entering Switzerland has been a major headache.

Not only are visitors from high-risk countries required to quarantine on arrival, but they have had to fulfil other conditions as well, such as filling out an online form and presenting a negative coronavirus test taken within 72 hours of travel.

But starting on Monday, May 31st, things will get much easier – at least for some people.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What Covid measures will Switzerland relax from Monday?

Among the measures being eased by the government from Monday is the quarantine and testing requirement for vaccinated and immune travellers.

“People who have recovered from Covid are exempt from contact and travel quarantine for a period of six months,” the Federal Council announced at a press conference on Wednesday.

“Given that people who have been vaccinated cannot transmit the virus to a relevant extent, they too are now exempt from contact and travel quarantine for a period of six months, as well as from the requirement to be tested and provide contact details on arrival in Switzerland,” authorities added.

The six-month time frame for both vaccinations and recovery from coronavirus is a condition because it is currently believed that this is how long immunity to Covid lasts, though some research suggests it might be longer.

Another condition for the waiving of the quarantine and testing requirement is that travellers “have been fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved in Switzerland or by the European Medicines Agency (EMA)”.

“Fully vaccinated” means they received both doses of either Moderna, Pfizer BioNTech or AstraZeneca or a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

AstraZeneca is not used in Switzerland, but is approved by the EMA. Other vaccines available in some markets, such as Sputnik V and Sinovac, are excluded.

Also, authorities specified that “people under the age of 16 are also exempt from travel quarantine and the requirement to be tested on arrival in Switzerland”.

However, the exemption from travel quarantine and testing doesn’t extend to people arriving from countries with virus variants “of significant concern” – even if they have been vaccinated or recovered from Covid.

Daniel Dauwalder, a spokesperson for the Federal Department of Public Health (FOPH), told The Local that the ruling currently pertains to travellers from Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa and Nepal.

However, FOPH’s list of high-risk areas is updated at least every 14 days, so some countries may be removed from it while others are added.

READ MORE: When can residents of Switzerland travel abroad again?

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