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Switzerland adds UK to list of high-risk Covid countries

Swiss authorities have added the UK to its list of high-risk countries for Covid-19 due to the rising number of infections linked to the variant first detected in India.

Switzerland adds UK to list of high-risk Covid countries
Arrivals from the UK have to quarantine. DANIEL SLIM / AFP

From May 27th at 6pm, the UK was placed on the Swiss Health Ministry’s list of nations with a high incidence of Covid virus mutations.

The UK has been added to the list due to the “worrying” variant first detected in India currently circulating in the country, according to the website of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

This means travellers from the UK must present a negative coronavirus test and undergo a 10 or seven-day quarantine upon arrival in Switzerland, even if they are fully vaccinated.

Switzerland’s neighbours Austria, France and Germany have also imposed similar restrictions on UK arrivals.

This measure concerns anyone entering from the UK, including Swiss citizens and permanent residents returning to Switzerland.

The same rules apply to those arriving from Brazil, Canada, India, Nepal and South Africa.

From May 31st, vaccinated visitors from other countries, or those who have recovered from Covid-19 no more than six months ago, will no longer have to test or quarantine when entering Switzerland.

READ MORE: Switzerland to lift Covid testing and quarantine requirements for some travellers

However, the government abstained from banning flights from the UK altogether, as it did in December 2020 when the UK virus mutation was first detected in Switzerland.

Member comments

  1. somewhat ironic when UK has an avg 2,800 cases weekly and Switzerland 850 but pro rata UK is in a better place + more vaccinated + scientist confirmed that the vaccines work against against the indian variant. Hopefully common sense will prevail since zero covid is a pipe dream

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Reader question: What proof of vaccination will Switzerland require for Americans and Brits to enter?

Starting on June 28th, vaccinated travellers from third countries, including Americans, will be allowed to come to Switzerland without having to show a negative Covid test or quarantine upon arrival.

Reader question: What proof of vaccination will Switzerland require for Americans and Brits to enter?
Vaccination in a foreign country can be proven with an official certificate. Photo: JAIME REINA / AFP

“In view of the positive developments in the epidemiological situation and the progress made in the field of vaccination, the Federal Council is proposing to greatly relax the prescriptions and health measures at the border for people entering Switzerland”, authorities announced on June 11th.

They specified, however, that final decision on this move will be made on June 23rd.

READ MORE: Switzerland set to reopen its borders to vaccinated Americans

However, if the number of infections, hospitalisations and deaths will remain the same as now — or, better yet, drop further — vaccinated tourists from outside the Schengen zone will be able to come to Switzerland before the end of June.

What proof of vaccination will those travellers have to show to enter the country?

Basically, the requirements for residents of third nations are the same as for people coming from the EU/EFLA states.

The proof showing you have been fully vaccinated should be an official document issued by a recognised health authority in your country of residence.

The document, which can be either on your smart phone or in paper form, must have your name and date of birth, dates when both doses were administered (or a single dose in case of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine), as well as the name and batch number of the vaccine.

READ MORE: Reader question: How do I prove in Switzerland that I’ve been vaccinated abroad?

Another important requirement is that the vaccine you received is authorised for use in the European Union and, therefore, in Switzerland.

So far, the European Medicines Agency has approved vaccines from Pfizer/Biontech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.

In addition to these two, Switzerland will also accept the Chinese vaccines Sinopharm and Sinovac for entry. 

One thing to keep in mind is that the travel should take place at least 14 days after the second dose, which is when immunity to coronavirus is believed to fully kick in.

The same rules apply to people coming from the so-called “high-variant” countries (VOC) which at the moment include Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Nepal, and the UK.

They can enter Switzerland if fully vaccinated with proper proof.

Otherwise, they must present a negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 days before arriving in Switzerland.

They will then have to quarantine for 10 or seven days.

However, Russia’s Sputnik V, as well as China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have not received European or Swiss approval to date.

Does this mean travellers from Russia, China, and other countries that don’t use EU-approved vaccines can’t come to Switzerland?

They can still come, but will be required to present a negative PCR or antigen test taken no more than 72 hours before arriving in Switzerland.

They will then have to quarantine for 10 or seven days.

This rule pertains not only to foreign visitors, but also to Swiss citizens and permanent residents returning from abroad.

Will the Covid certificate be sufficient proof?

If it is internationally recognized, which means valid in the EU and Switzerland, then yes.

Switzerland’s certificate will be ready by July 1st. However, not all countries may have these immunity passports ready for use before you travel abroad.

If this is the case, then a proper vaccine document, as mentioned above, will suffice.

READ MORE: How to get Switzerland’s Covid-19 health pass