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Switzerland Introduces New Rules on Travel Quarantine Amid Increasing Cases of COVID-19

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The Swiss Federal Council has updated the rules of travel quarantine at its meeting of October 28, during which several other measures were approved in a bid to combat the further spread of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country.

Throughout the meeting, the Council agreed to set a new threshold of cases per country, for travel quarantine, which has become effective today, October 29.

As incidence rates in Switzerland are now above average compared with the rest of Europe, the threshold will be raised. Under the amended provisions, only countries and areas with an incidence rate that is 60 higher than that in Switzerland will now be placed on the quarantine list,” the Council announces in a press release, listing the new COVID-19 measures.

This means that only travellers coming from countries where the number of new infections per 100,000 people in the last 14 days is at least 60 higher than the incidence in Switzerland, will have to go into quarantine upon arrival in Switzerland.

The Council also agreed to exempt business travellers and people travelling for medical reasons from the obligation of quarantine, in cases when their trips last no longer than five days.

Residents of border areas of Switzerland also remain excluded from the obligation of self-isolation due to the close economic, social and cultural exchange.

Since June 15, 2020, and July 20, 2020, all Schengen states, the EU and the European microstates are no longer considered risk countries for Switzerland, and entry from these countries is permitted for all types of purposes. Yet, all people who enter Switzerland from a state or area with a high risk of infection have to go into quarantine for ten days.

Due to the new decisions, starting from October 29, the following countries have been added to Switzerland’s list of COVID-19 high-risk countries:

  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic
  • French territories:
    • Hauts-de-France region
    • Île de France region
    • French Polynesia

At the same time, the Council intends to introduce rapid antigen tests to determine a COVID-19 infection starting from November 2, in order to identify cases more rapidly and prevent the further spread of the virus.

The decision has been taken upon the evaluation of rapid tests by the Centre National de Référence pour Infections Virales Emergentes (CRIVE) in Geneva. As a result, the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH therefore only envisages using these rapid tests for certain groups of individuals who are deemed symptomatic according to the FOPH criteria, symptoms having emerged within the previous four days, and who are not classed as being at especially high risk.

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