Clarification: Switzerland imposes quarantine on all arrivals from UK

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Clarification: Switzerland imposes quarantine on all arrivals from UK
Commercial planes of Swiss airline and low cost airline EasyJet are seen parked due to flight interruption amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus on late May 29, 2020 at Geneva Airport. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

UPDATE: Switzerland added the UK to its list of countries with a variant of concern on Saturday evening meaning arrivals will need to complete a ten-day quarantine, but has not banned all travellers from the UK as was initially suggested.


As of 8pm on November 27th, the UK – along with Czech Republic, Netherlands, Egypt and Malawi – was added to the list of countries with a variant of concern

Travellers from the UK will be required to show a negative test result and quarantine for 10 days, even if they are vaccinated or have recovered from the virus.

They will also to report to the cantonal authority and then take another PCR test between four and seven days after arrival.

"The cantonal authority must be informed of the result of the second test and the number of the entry form must be sent," Swiss authorities say.

You can find the contact details for cantonal authorities here.


Countries across Europe are ramping up restrictions in a bid to stem the spread of the newly discovered Omicron variant of the virus.

Why the confusion - and what are the rules? 

However Switzerland has not banned all arrivals from the UK as as initially reported.

Switzerland keeps two separate lists relating to entry rules. One, prepared by the Federal Office of Public Health and available here, lists countries with a variant of concern. Entry from countries on that list - which includes the United Kingdom - requires a ten-day quarantine. 

The other, prepared by the State Secretariat for Migration and available here, lists high-risk countries from which entry is not possible, unless you are a Swiss citizen or resident. The United Kingdom is not on this list. 

However, when the announcement was made by the Swiss government on Saturday, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health website appeared to confuse the two lists, saying that entry was banned from countries with a variant of concern, other than for Swiss citizens and residents. 

While the website has since been updated to correct the error, the following screenshot shows the government's original statement, from which The Local's reporting was based. 

Due to the rapidly changing nature of the situation, it appears that some details were released before policies were finalised. 

As at Monday evening, November 29th, the Swiss government's interactive 'Travelcheck' website - which provides tailored advice to individuals on the basis of the country they are arriving from and their vaccination status - had been taken down. 

As can be seen in the following screenshot,  message appeared under the Travelcheck URL telling people to visit the FOPH and SEM websites for more information. 

Image: FOPH

Image: FOPH

Initially The Local reported that Switzerland had banned all travellers from the UK after it was reported on the official government website over the weekend. We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused. Please get in touch with us at [email protected] for further clarifications. 


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osattar 2021/11/30 09:54
What they really need to do is put Schwyz and Appenzell on the quarantine list.
Pat.butler 2021/11/29 17:05
What’s the situation if you fly to Geneva from UK purely to transit into France ( ie ~30 minutes in Switzerland and no place to stay)?
  • daniel.wighton 2021/11/30 16:39
    Hi all, We've spoken today with the Swiss government and gotten confirmation that transit passengers will not need to quarantine, despite what the British consulate and Geneva Airport authorities have said. More information is here. Best, Daniel.
  • daniel.wighton 2021/11/30 10:31
    Hi Pat, We're working to clarify this as soon as possible. We've heard contrary messages from the FOPH and Geneva Airport, so we are looking for a conclusive opinion and will keep you up to date. Daniel.
  • leecopson 2021/11/29 18:21
    Para f of this page indicates that you might be OK, but I don't know how you'd prove it at immigration. This alo contradicts info the British consulate in Bern put out yesterday via Facebook which suggested that transit passengers would be caught by quarantine rules. If you're flying with BA then it's also possible that the flight will be cancelled. Last time everything went into shutdown we stopped booking BA flights from Zurich to the UK because they were cancelled with little notice.
will_6087c4627482e 2021/11/29 10:35
Looking more closely at this, it looks like fully vaccinated Brits can still enter Switzerland, subject to a negative PCR test and 10 days quarantine. It is only the unvaccinated who are not allowed to enter. Can anyone confirm that?
  • daniel.wighton 2021/11/30 10:35
    Hi all, As we've mentioned above, the Swiss government changed their official advice. After originally saying there was a ban, this became a ten-day quarantine. We've done our best to keep you up to date, but sorry for the inconvenience. Daniel Wighton Editor The Local Switzerland
  • jamescceagle 2021/11/29 13:03
    Well, they have just updated the website and removed some of the text. The bottom paragraph is no longer there. I guess it was causing a lot of confusion. I think the condition is that if you are Brit visiting Switzerland, you now have the quarantine for 10 days. I don't think Brits are banned from entering Switzerland. The way they've communicated this is incredibly poor and confusing. It's also a bit ridiculous. The Covid situation in the UK has stabilised, while its population are far better vaccinated compared to Switzerland where daily rates are shooting through the roof.
  • simonmtownsend 2021/11/29 12:45
    I agree it's slightly unclear, and the UK government site still seem to say it's ok to enter CH providing you have a PCR test and quarantine 10 days. I'm sure the next few days will confirm that the new covid variation is already in Europe, and hopefully the exiting vaccine will still be effective at preventing serious disease. With luck we can swiftly return to where we were, fingers crossed before Christmas! The Swiss hospitality trade will be hoping so.
jamescceagle 2021/11/29 10:06
This is stupid and makes no sense. With just under two-thirds of the Swiss population fully vaccinated, the Swiss have one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe. The variant is probably already in Switzerland as it has been proven time and time again that travel bans don't work. I'm not sure who the Swiss government is trying to protect - the unvaccinated?
gustav.nilsson 2021/11/29 08:07
I am not so convinced about travel bans, see e.g. . I was hoping that after more than one and half year of hysteria, leaders would take a more rational approach, but it doesn't seem to be the case.
simonmtownsend 2021/11/28 22:04
Let's hope the ban is lifted swiftly.
hornsbychrisman22 2021/11/28 20:07
What a shame - most visitors from UK will have had three vaccines . The hotels and ski resorts will all suffer again. Life has to go on .

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