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UPDATE: Everything you need to know about Switzerland’s quarantine rules

UPDATE: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's quarantine rules
A sign at the border between Germany and Switzerland. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Swiss authorities have imposed quarantine on travellers arriving from an increasing number of countries. Here's what you need to know about the restrictions.

NOTE: Switzerland has since changed its quarantine rules and this article is now out of date. Click here for updated information. 

Switzerland put in place a mandatory, ten-day quarantine on arrivals from certain 'high-risk' regions and countries in early July. Here's what you need to know. 

Which countries and regions are high-risk?

Switzerland put in place a quarantine from July 6th on arrivals from 29 so-called high-risk countries. On July 22nd, the list of countries was expanded to 42, six more – including mainland Spain – was added on August 5th.

On August 20th, Spain's Balearic Islands, Belgium, Albania, Andorra, Aruba, Belize, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Guam, Monaco and Namibia were added to the list.

On the same day, Serbia, Singapore, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe and Saudi Arabia were removed.

On September 7th, people arriving in Switzerland from Croatia, Lebanon, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates will have to go into mandatory 10-day quarantine.

Belgium and Mexico were removed from the list on September 7th, bringing the number of high-risk countries to 55. But on September 11th Switzerland added nine regions of France along with Vienna to the list, although didn't add border regions

On September 28th, the list was expanded again – with 15 new countries added as well as several more regions of France, Austria and Italy. Two countries – Kosovo and San Marino – were removed. 

From October 12th, Hamburg and Berlin in Germany, Burgenland and Salzburg in Austria and Campania, Sardinia and Venice in Italy were added. 

In addition, the countries of Georgia, Iran, Jordan, Canada, Russia, Slovakia and Tunisia have been added to the list. Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Namibia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago were removed from October 12th.

Why a quarantine requirement? 

The quarantine requirement was imposed due to increases in new infections. Any country with more than 60 infections per 100,000 people over the previous 14 days is deemed high risk by the government and will be placed on the list. 

Countries which share a border with Switzerland will have specific regions placed on the list, rather than the entire country. 

Q&A: What travellers to Switzerland should know about the new 10-day quarantine rule

“Since mid-June, the new coronavirus has experienced an upsurge in Switzerland after infected people entered the country from Schengen and non-Schengen states” beyond Europe's open borders zone, said the government.

“Consequently, from July 6, anyone crossing the border from certain regions must quarantine themselves for 10 days,” the Federal Council said.

A guard at the border between France and Switzerland. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Which countries or regions are considered 'high risk'?

In a statement, the government said “as of Monday, July 6, anyone crossing the border from certain regions must quarantine themselves for ten days. The Federal Office of Public Health maintains a list of the regions in question, which it updates regularly.”

The Swiss health authorities promised that it would regularly update the list and that it would look to keep abreast of the situation in countries regarding infections and outbreaks. 

READ: Masks to be compulsory in Swiss public transport from Monday

Which countries are on the list? 

As at October 12th, the list includes dozens of countries or parts of countries: Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Austria (several regions), the Bahamas, Bahrain, Belgium, Belize, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cabo Verde, Canada, Colombia, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Faroe Islands, France (several regions), Georgia, Germany (Hamburg and Berlin), Gibraltar, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy (Campania, Liguria, Sardinia and Venice), Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Maldives, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, Nepal, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Oman, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Sint Maarten, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain (not Canary Islands), Tunisia, Turks and Caicos Islands, Ukraine, the United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

Affected people will be informed on planes, coaches and at the borders, and must register with the local authorities once in Switzerland.

Anyone who appears to be sick must not be allowed to board buses, trains or flights to Switzerland. 

How has the list been updated over time?

On July 6th, the official list of high-risk countries was released. On July 22nd, it was updated, with 15 more countries added and two (Sweden and Belarus) were removed from the original list. 

Mainland Spain – with the Canary and Balearic Islands excluded – Singapore, Romania, the Bahamas, Equatorial Guinea, São Tomé and Príncipe and Sint Maarten were added on August 5th . Russia, Azerbaijan and the UAE were removed. 

On August 20th, Spain's Balearic Islands, Belgium, Albania, Andorra, Aruba, Belize, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Guam, Monaco and Namibia were added to the list.

On the same day, Serbia, Singapore, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome and Principe and Saudi Arabia were removed.

On September 7th, people arriving in Switzerland from Croatia, Lebanon, Ukraine and the United Arab Emirates will have to go into mandatory 10-day quarantine.

Belgium and Mexico are to be removed from the list on September 7th. Parts of France and Austria were included on September 14th

On September 28th, the list was expanded again – with 15 new countries added as well as several more regions of France, Austria and Italy. Two countries – Kosovo and San Marino – were removed. 

From October 12th, Hamburg and Berlin in Germany, Burgenland and Salzburg in Austria and Campania, Sardinia and Venice in Italy were added. 

In addition, the countries of Georgia, Iran, Jordan, Canada, Russia, Slovakia and Tunisia have been added to the list. Bolivia, the Dominican Republic, Namibia, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago were removed from October 12th.

Why has it taken so long to implement?

Many of Switzerland's neighbours put in place a quarantine requirement months ago, but like with the mask requirement in public transport it has taken until July for Switzerland to do it. 

Switzerland stopped short of imposing strict confinement when it introduced measures in mid-March aimed at stopping the spread of the new coronavirus.

In a statement from July 1st, the government said an increase in infections was the reason for the quarantine requirement. 

What are the consequences for failing to quarantine?

People who purposefully fail to respect the terms of the quarantine — for instance, by going out or having guests — could be liable to a fine of up to 10,000 francs. 

People who negligently do so, i.e. through being unaware, will be liable for a fine of up to 5,000 francs. 

Who can enter Switzerland? 

As it currently stands, only arrivals from EU or EFTA states will be allowed to enter, along with a handful of other countries. 

At the end of August, Switzerland closed the 'transit loophole', which had allowed people to avoid quarantine by transiting through a country which was not on the 'high risk' list. 

Serbia and Montenegro, previously on the list, have been removed. For more information, click the following link. 

EXPLAINED: Who can enter Switzerland right now?

What about Switzerland's coronavirus tracing app? 

Switzerland has its own SwissCovid contract-tracing smartphone app, using Bluetooth wireless technology. 

It has been downloaded nearly a million times, with 928,909 signing up in the first six days since it came out.

Q&A: How will Switzerland's coronavirus tracing app work?

Does self-quarantine mean you could stay in a hotel room and still have your vacation in Switzerland?

Nice try, but no.

Anyone entering Switzerland from one of the at-risk areas must to go straight to their own home or other suitable accommodation immediately after entering the country and stay there continuously for 10 days.

This means no going out or having guests in your house. Basically, you are under lock and key.

If you travelled with a member(s) of your household, you can all quarantine together. But if only one person returned from an at-risk destination, he or she must be confined to a room or area of the house away from other family members.

The quarantined person must also disinfect any common areas, such as the bathroom facilities, after use, the government said.

The travellers must also notify their cantonal authorities that they have returned from an at-risk country. People failing to do could be liable to a fine of up to 10,000 francs.

Editor's note: Please keep in mind that this article, as with all of our guides, are to provide assistance only. They are not intended to take the place of official legal advice. 

 

 


Member comments

  1. Is there any chance in Hell that the United States will make Switzerland’s “no quarantine required” list this Summer? I’ve been holding onto hope that I’ll be able to visit Geneva (and London) as planned before September 30, but that hope is fading fast.

  2. Rhonda, As a US expat living in Switzerland hoping to return to the US to visit family, I have been following this topic closely. Unfortunately it is not looking good for US to CH without quarantine, especially before Sept 30. CH is updating their list regularly, however, so keep eyes open and fingers crossed.

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