SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

COVID-19

Which countries are on Switzerland’s high-risk list?

Switzerland expanded its high-risk list as of Monday, thereby restricting travel for people in certain categories. Here's what you need to know about the list.

A Swiss airlines plane on the tarmac at Zurich Airport.
What are the current entry rules for Switzerland for people from 'high risk' countries. Photo: ENNIO LEANZA / POOL / AFP

As of Monday, December 20th, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) will further restrict entry to people from the country of Jordan. 

Other countries recently added to the list include Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brunei, Japan and Serbia.

Some of the other countries on the SEM list include India, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. 

UPDATE: Switzerland confirms only vaccinated Americans and Brits can enter

The full list can be seen here

The list also includes several countries where an “immuno-evasive virus variant is spreading that is not yet prevalent in Switzerland”. 

These countries are predominantly from Southern Africa: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. 

What does it mean to be on this list?

Please bear with us, as the situation is relatively complicated and a little difficult to explain. 

Basically, entering from countries considered high-risk will be restricted to those who are vaccinated against Covid-19 with a recognised vaccine. 

Swiss citizens and residents will not be restricted from entering. 

The vaccines accepted for entry into Switzerland are laid out in the following article. 

UPDATE: Which vaccines are accepted for entry into Switzerland?

The rules for the list of immuno-evasive countries are a little tighter. 

Arriving from these countries will be restricted only to Swiss residents and Swiss citizens regardless of vaccination status. 

There are also a range of other exceptions, which are listed here, but tourist travel is largely prevented

How does the list work?

In effect, Switzerland deems every country a ‘high-risk’ country, other than those in the Schengen region and a handful of countries across the globe which are considered lower risk. 

The non-EU/Schengen countries which are not deemed high risk include Argentina, Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan and several others. 

The SEM decide when a country is deemed high risk.

Usually, this will be followed by an announcement (usually via media release and social media) that the country is now on the list. 

As a recognition that the rules are complicated, the Swiss government has set up an interactive tool called ‘Travelcheck’.

This allows you to put in your personalised information, including where you are entering from, your residency and citizenship status and your vaccination status. 

You will then get an automate personalised response with information as to your entry situation. 

Travel: What are Switzerland’s new entry requirements?

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

DISCOVER SWITZERLAND

IN PICTURES: Swiss push for destruction of ‘eyesore’ abandoned ski resorts

In a remote, secluded valley in the Swiss Alps, a line of rusty ski lift masts scar the grassy hillside where cows lazily graze.

IN PICTURES: Swiss push for destruction of ‘eyesore’ abandoned ski resorts

The lifts at the once bustling Super Saint Bernard ski resort in Switzerland’s southern Wallis canton, near the Italian border, stopped running in 2010.

The Super Saint Bernard ski resort in Switzerland's southern Wallis canton, near the Italian border, has been abandoned since 2010. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

The Super Saint Bernard ski resort in Switzerland’s southern Wallis canton, near the Italian border, has been abandoned since 2010. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Since the local company that ran the small station folded, the infrastructure and facilities have been left as a disintegrating blemish on the Alpine landscape.

“Frankly, I would like to see them destroy it, raze it,” former resort director Claude Lattion acknowledged to AFP.

“You arrive from Italy over the Great Saint Bernard Pass and see this,” he said, nodding towards the graffiti-covered ruins and piles of broken glass that once housed the restaurant and ski lift departure station.

With its spectacular mountain landscapes and pristine slopes, Switzerland draws winter sports fans and tourists from around the world.

Former resort director Claude Lattion poses in the ruins of the departure gondola lift station of Super Saint-Bernard ski resort. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Former resort director Claude Lattion poses in the ruins of the departure gondola lift station of Super Saint-Bernard ski resort. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

But in recent years, shortages of snow and especially of money have seen many of its smaller, local stations struggle to keep their ski lifts running.

At least 14 out of 2,433 are currently out of order, according to the Federal Office of Transport. 

Snow business: How to find a job in winter sports in Switzerland

‘Eyesore’ 

Swiss law requires resort owners to pay for the cost of dismantling abandoned ski lifts.

But the situation is more complicated when resorts file for bankruptcy, as Super Saint Bernard has done.

Discussions about whether a buyer can be found, or if regional or local authorities should foot the bill, can drag on for years.

In the small neighbouring village of Bourg-Saint-Pierre, mayor Gilbert Tornare said several solutions have been examined “to get rid of this eyesore”.

But the cost is too steep for the community of just 200 people, he said.

The lifts at the Super Saint Bernard ski resort in Switzerland haven't run since 2010. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The lifts at the Super Saint Bernard ski resort in Switzerland haven’t run since 2010. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

In all, up to two million Swiss francs ($2.1 million) will be needed to dismantle the station, removing the ski lift masts and decontaminating a site that stretches up to an altitude of 2,800 metres (9,200 feet).

Wallis canton, meanwhile, has suggested using army conscripts for the job to limit the cost.

The case illustrates the chronic difficulties facing smaller ski stations across Switzerland.

For resorts with fewer than 100,000 skiers a year, it is “difficult to turn a profit”, Swiss tourism expert Laurent Vanat told AFP.

Super Saint Bernard, which only had around 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) of slopes and was hampered by its remote location, far from the nearest village, was drawing only about 20,000 skiers per season before it closed.

The Super Saint Bernard ski resort in Switzerland's southern Wallis canton, near the Italian border, has been abandoned since 2010. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

The abandoned Super Saint Bernard ski resort in Switzerland. Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

New use?

While the high-altitude station typically sees plenty of snow, other small resorts are being hit by the impact of climate change, which has left the white gold in short supply.

Watching his two dogs sniff around the wreckage of the business he once ran, Lattion said he would have liked to see Super Saint Bernard “put to new use”.

One young local entrepreneur wants to do just that and has proposed creating a hotel reachable by a small cable car.

Two unprepared slopes could be used in winter, while plenty of paths are available for summer hikes, offering a softer approach to mountain tourism than the one driven by the large resorts.

But their plan has been stalled for five years, with a controversial wind farm plan blocking all public financing for new ski projects in the area.

Rebuilding a ski station, Lattion acknowledged, “is not really in the spirit of the times”.

SHOW COMMENTS