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Switzerland imposes retroactive quarantine on arrivals from UK

Switzerland has announced that anyone who arrived in the country from the UK and South Africa in recent days must now go into quarantine.

Switzerland imposes retroactive quarantine on arrivals from UK
AFP

The move was taken to prevent the spread of a new strain of coronavirus that has been identified in the south of England is is believed to be much more contagious than the other strains of Covid-19.

South Africa is also included in the ban, as the new virus variant is spreading through that country as well.

The Federal Council has introduced a general entry ban from today for all foreign nationals seeking to enter Switzerland from the UK and South Africa. This is intended in particular to stop travel from these countries for tourism purposes.

“All persons who have entered Switzerland from these two countries since 14 December must go into quarantine for 10 days”, the Federal Council said in a statement.

Switzerland's Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) suspended air links between the UK and Switzerland from midnight Sunday. 

READ MORE: TRAVEL: Switzerland suspends flights with UK over new Covid strain

However, a temporary derogation from the flight ban is being considered for persons resident in the UK or South Africa currently staying in Switzerland so that they may return home, authorities said.

“That is also the case for persons resident in Switzerland currently staying in those two countries. However, it is imperative that such return journeys do not lead to infections”.

South Africa is also included in the ban, as the new virus variant is spreading through that country as well.

“The new strain is significantly more contagious than the known kind,” FOCA said in a press release on Sunday. 

More than 60 flights from the UK — bringing an estimated 10,000 tourists —landed at the Geneva airport this weekend before the ban was introduced, RTS public broadcaster reported.

Switzerland also immediately withdrew freedom of movement privileges from British nationals, which were due to expire at the end of year in any case, as Britain leaves the European Union. 

 “Persons from the UK are therefore subject to a general ban on entering Switzerland,” it said.

The government added: “No cases of the new strain have so far been identified in Switzerland.”

 

 

 

 

 

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COVID-19

Did Sweden’s state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

For his supporters, it was well-deserved, for his detractors a case of failing upwards. But when Sweden's Public Health Agency announced this month that state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell was taking a job at the World Health Organisation, both sides assumed it was true.

Did Sweden's state epidemiologist really get a big job at the WHO?

Now, it seems, the job might not be there after all. 

At the start of this month, Sweden’s Public Health Agency announced that Anders Tegnell was resigning to take up a post coordinating vaccine work with the World Health Organisation in Geneva. 

“I’ve worked with vaccines for 30 years and have at the same time always been inspired by international issues,” Tegnell said in the release. “Now I will have the chance to contribute to this comprehensive international work.”

During the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, Tegnell shot immediately from obscurity into the spotlight, gaining such celebrity status in Sweden that one fan had his profile tattooed onto his arm.

Internationally he was hailed by lockdown sceptics for his reasoned arguments against overly restrictive measures to control the spread of the virus. 

His new WHO appointment was reported all over the world. 

But on Tuesday, the Svenska Daglabdet newspaper revealed that the job had not yet been awarded. A spokesperson for the WHO said at a press conference in Geneva that “there is some confusion”, and that “this is an internal question.” 

According to the newspaper, there is even “a certain level of irritation” behind the scenes at the WHO that Sweden acted too soon and dispatched Tegnell to a job that did not actually exist yet. 

“We have received an offer from Sweden, which is still under discussion,” the organisation’s press spokesperson, Fadela Chaib, told the newspaper. 

On Thursday, the Public Health Agency’s press chief Christer Janson conceded that there had been a mistake and that the negotiation had not been completed.  

“We believed it was done, but it wasn’t,” he told Expressen in an interview. “It’s been a much longer process to get this completed than we thought. There’s been a misunderstanding and we regret that.” 

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