Switzerland eases PCR test rule for travellers recovered from Covid

A person in a mask walks past a sign at Basel Airport
Switzerland has updated its entry rules. Photo: SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP
The Swiss government has responded to criticism surrounding its PCR test requirement, changing the rules slightly for those arriving in the country who have already had the virus. 

Since December 4th, people arriving from almost all countries must provide a negative PCR test on entry, followed by another PCR or antigen test between four and seven days later. 

READ ALSO: Travel – What are Switzerland’s Covid test requirements?

The criticism centred around the fact that people who have recently had Covid often test positive in PCR tests despite not being infectious with the virus. 

According to Swiss news outlet NZZ, who broke the story with confirmation from the Federal Office of Public Health, the PCR test requirement had made it “practically impossible” for some people to return home, as they continually tested positive despite no longer being contagious. 

The FOPH said the change had been made “so that the people concerned can travel back to Switzerland”. 

What is the new exception for recovered people? 

Under the new exception for recovered people, those who have had the virus within the past 30 days – and can prove it with a doctors certificate – do not need to provide evidence of a negative PCR test. 

They must however have no symptoms of the virus and must also have a negative rapid antigen test which is less than 24 hours old. 

As reported by NZZ, the exemption was passed on Friday, November 10th, but it does not yet appear on the FOPH website. 

Swiss virologist Isabella Eckerle told NZZ that PCR tests can show positive results several days after someone is no longer infectious. 

“There are now many studies that show that you are no longer infectious after around 8 to 10 days, even though the PCR test can be positive for longer.”

People who arrive without a PCR test who do not fit within the exception must pay a CHF200 fine and must take a PCR test in Switzerland, which cost approximately CHF 110 (€100), or CHF 195 (€175) for rapid PCR tests.

Switzerland: What happens if I arrive without a PCR test?


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