Could Switzerland force arrivals from France to go into quarantine ?

Could Switzerland force arrivals from France to go into quarantine ?
Workers from France crowds into Switzerland at Geneva's Thônex border. Photo by AFP
On Friday, the Federal Council is discussing the question of whether, due to the high number of infections in France, a quarantine obligation should be introduced for travellers from the country.

To define a risk area, Switzerland has set a limit of more than 60 coronavirus infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days.

In France, this number is currently 139, and has met the Swiss criteria for a risk country for some time.

According to Tages-Anzeiger newspaper, the Federal Council could decide to declare individual French regions with high numbers of infections to be risk areas — such as Paris and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur — rather than put the entire country on its ‘high-risk’ list. 

This proposal by Health Minister Alain Berset would prevent French border regions from being impacted by such a regulation.

READ MORE: UPDATED: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's quarantine requirement 

If the cross-border commuters from France had to be quarantined, Swiss regions that are dependent on these employees — mainly Geneva, but also Vaud, Basel and Jura — would be hit hard.

With its economy relying heavily on over 125, 000 frontier workers, the Lake Geneva area would be the most affected.

“We have no intention of letting entire swathes of our economy to shut down”, Antonio Hodgers, president of the Geneva Council of State told Tribune de Genéve. 

In Geneva, some 60 percent of the city's health workers live in France.

According to the report, Berset's request for regional risk assessments would  not only affect France: if necessary, it should be applicable to all neighbouring countries — Italy, Germany, and Austria.

Some industries and regions rely much more heavily on cross-border workers – known as frontaliers in French, Grenzgänger in German and frontalieri in Italian – than others. They represent one third of the workforce in some cantons. 

However, this is unlikely to happen, as even during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, cross-border workers were exempted from the entry restrictions.



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