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QUARANTINE

Switzerland removes more countries and regions from high-risk Covid list

The Swiss Health Ministry has removed some 11 regions from list of areas with elevated risk of coronavirus infections.

A Swiss Air flight arriving from Zurich, whose passengers will be put in quarantine, prepares to land at the airport in Valencia on May 21, 2020. - Spain has restricted arrivals from Europe's Schengen zone and imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine period on all travellers to avoid importing new coronavirus cases. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN / STR / AFP)
It's a lot easier to come to Switzerland from some countries. Photo by JOSE JORDAN / STR / AFP

From Thursday June 3rd, the French regions of Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, plus Germany’s Land Sachsen and Thüringen (Thurungia), as well as Italy’s Regione Campania and Puglia are off the list.

No other areas of Italy, Germany or Austria remain on the high risk list.

However, the French regions of Centre-Val de Loire, Hauts-de-France, Île de France, Normandie, and Pays de la Loire, are still included.

Also, Croatia, Cyprus, Iran, Luxembourg, and Turkey are no longer considered as high risk areas by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

This means that arrivals from these places are no longer required to quarantine in Switzerland, although they still need to  provide a negative Covid test, unless they are fully vaccinated or recently recovered from coronavirus.

Since May 31st, people who are fully vaccinated or recovered from Covid are exempt from travel quarantine for a period of six months.

They are also exempt from the requirement to be tested and provide contact details on arrival in Switzerland.

However, one 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)”, the Federal Council said.

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

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QUARANTINE

Switzerland to cut quarantine period for vaccinated and extend current measures

Switzerland will shorten the obligatory quarantine for anyone testing positive for Covid to five days, while extending the current measures until at least March. The duration of immunity for the Covid certificate will also be shortened.

Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset gestures during a press conference.. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)
Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset gestures during a press conference.. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Switzerland on Wednesday announced a range of changes to the existing Covid measures. 

As had been widely reported ahead of the announcement, the Covid quarantine period for positive cases was shortened from the current ten days to five for vaccinated and recovered people. 

People can leave quarantine after five days, provided they are symptom free for 48 hours. Based on the new advice, it does not appear a person needs to test negative – although the government has been contacted for a confirmation on this question. 

EXPLAINED: Why did Switzerland relax Covid quarantine rules?

The quarantine change applies both to people who have tested positive and those who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive. 

“Close contact” will also be redefined. Now it will not include everyone someone with Covid has had contact with, but will be limited to the people they live with and people who had “regular and close” contact with a person who tested positive. 

The close contact quarantine will not apply to people who have had a booster in the past four months, but it will apply to those who have had two doses.

The unvaccinated will need to remain in quarantine for the original ten days. 

Cantons can decide to grant exemption to the quarantine rules. 

The duration of immunity under the rules of Switzerland’s Covid certificate will be reduced from one year to 270 days, i.e. nine months.

This is due to the belief that immunity due either to vaccination or recovery declines earlier than previously thought. 

The 270-day requirement applies to those who are fully vaccinated or to people who have previously had the virus.

This shortening of the time period for the validity of the Covid certificate will apply from February 1st, as with the EU’s rules for international travel. 

The current Covid measures, which are outlined in the link below, will also be extended. 

EXPLAINED: What are Switzerland’s current Covid measures?

While they were set to expire on January 24th, they will now be extended until March 31st. 

The government said the extension was necessary due to the situation in the country’s hospitals. 

Amid skyrocketing infection rates, the Swiss government said it had prepared additional measures which could be implemented quickly and immediately if the situation required it. 

“Should the situation in hospitals deteriorate significantly, the Federal Council can still act swiftly by imposing stricter measures such as the closure of facilities and institutions or by limiting capacity at large-scale events, regardless of the consultation,” the government said in a press release

The government is currently in consultation with experts and the cantons about these and further measures, including tighter mask rules and a change in testing rules.

This consultation will last until the 17th of January, however those listed here are expected to apply. 

For the full list of changes announced you can visit the government site HERE.

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