Switzerland's new testing rules: How much travelling abroad now costs
If you are planning a foreign trip in the coming weeks, be ready to pay higher costs than before when leaving and re-entering Switzerland.
Going abroad this holiday season will cost much more, but this time you can’t blame it only on the price of airline tickets (or another mode of transport if you are not flying).
Instead, additional expenses are due to the new testing requirements that Switzerland and many other countries have put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus, and its newest variant, Omicron, as the epidemiological situation is deteriorating in many parts of Europe and the world.
For instance, on December 4th, Switzerland scrapped the ten-day quarantine requirement in favour of a testing scheme.
Under the new rules, everyone arriving in Switzerland must show a negative PCR test and then take another PCR or antigen test taken four to seven days later.
This requirement applies to tourists as well as Swiss citizens and permanent residents, regardless of whether they are vaccinated or not.
This is a costly undertaking, according to calculations done by Switzerland's Watson news platform.
Prices of tests vary throughout Switzerland, but a PCR test for people without symptoms costs around 180 francs and a rapid antigen test about 50 francs.
Because one negative test is needed by most countries to enter, and two tests are now required to return to Switzerland, you have to add, at the very least, 230 francs to the price of your ticket, per person.
Again, depending on the cost of testing in a foreign country and in your Swiss canton, it could add up to more than that.
This means that if a family of two adults and two children over the age of two for travel to the United States, age 11 for the UK and 16 for most other countries, is going abroad, the cost of tests will add up to 920 francs, which may well be (depending on your destination) more than economy class tickets.
These links provide more information about what tests are needed for entry to the UK and the US, so you can calculate ahead of time their costs, in addition to the price of tests needed to re-enter Switzerland.