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UPDATED: Unvaccinated must pay for Covid tests in Switzerland from October

UPDATED: Unvaccinated must pay for Covid tests in Switzerland from October
Will Switzerland wind back free testing for the unvaccinated? Photo: YASSER AL-ZAYYAT / AFP
People who have not been vaccinated will be require to pay for their own Covid tests from October 1st. President Guy Parmelin said vaccinated taxpayers should not have to pay for testing for those who choose to remain unvaccinated.

In early August, the Swiss government announced that the country’s free testing scheme would come to an end by October 1st. 

Antigen tests for Covid are free in Switzerland, with the government covering the cost – even for those from abroad. 

READ MORE: How tourists and visitors in Switzerland can get a free Covid test

The decision was made in order to encourage people to be vaccinated in Switzerland. 

Anyone wanting to visit a nightclub or see a football game – or attend any other large event – will now be required to pay CHF50 for a test, unless they can prove they are vaccinated or have recently recovered from the virus. 

In addition, the five ‘self tests’ which were formerly made available at pharmacies across the country will also be scrapped from October. 

The decision itself was controversial, with Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset privately against the measure. 

SVP National Councilor Andreas Glarner said the decision was “stupid” and amounted to “an indirect vaccination obligation”. 

There was however significant support for the decision, including Swiss President Guy Parmelin and the SVP’s Ueli Maurer. 

Parmelin said Swiss taxpayers should not have to cover the costs of tests for people who choose not to be vaccinated. 

“If I don’t get vaccinated, should the vaccinated taxpayer pay for my tests? For me the answer is clear: No.”

READ MORE: What is the risk of catching Covid and getting sick in Switzerland if you are vaccinated?

Berset said he is confident Switzerland’s vaccination program – which is currently lagging behind its neighbours and the EU average – will pick up speed when returning travellers get vaccinated. 

On a comparative basis with its neighbours, Switzerland’s Covid measures are relatively relaxed, with proof of vaccination, testing or recovery from the virus only needed at large venues, events with over 1,000 people or to go travelling. 

With tests no longer free, those who have not been vaccinated will be encouraged to do so in order to take part in many of the above activities, rather than continually paying for tests. 


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