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'Test tsunami': Swiss test centres booked out ahead of summer holidays

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 6 Jul, 2021 Updated Tue 6 Jul 2021 16:05 CEST
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A line in front of a test centre. Photo: THOMAS KIENZLE / AFP

Test centres across Switzerland are booked out for the coming weeks, with travellers scrambling to find test sites ahead of planned holidays.

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While travel has reopened across Europe and much of the world, a central component of pandemic holidays is the negative test. 

Countries in Europe and further afield require negative tests in order to allow entry, even if people have been vaccinated. 

In many instances, people will need to get negative PCR test results in order to satisfy airline requirements or rules on arrival. 

Entry, masks and nightclubs: What are the rules in some of Switzerland’s favourite holiday destinations?

This has caused a run on appointments, with some testing stations booked out for weeks - particular amid the school holidays. 

No appointments in Zurich

In the Zurich test centre, there are no appointments before the start of holidays on July 17th, as is the drive-in centre in Dübendorf. 

A representative of the Zurich health department said an opening of more sites was being considered. 

Pharmacies too report being booked out over the coming weeks due to high demand. 

Natalia Blarer, the chair of the Zurich Pharmacists Association, said they’ve been at their limit since Switzerland announced nightclubs could reopen for people who had tested negative. 

“There is far too little test capacity. We can't handle it at all,” Blarer said, calling the demand a “test tsunami”. 

Blarer said the government “opened the floodgates for travel and nightlife - but did not improve testing conditions”. 

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No luck in neighbouring cantons

Anyone wanting to get a test in a neighbouring canton might be out of luck as well, with dozens of them closing in recent weeks. 

Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes reports that testing centres have closed down in cantons adjacent to Zurich after the government decided to lower the tariffs paid for testing. 

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The Local 2021/07/06 16:05

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