Published on : Tuesday, December 22, 2020
The Switzerland Federal Council recently introduced a general entry ban for all foreign nationals seeking to enter the country from the U.K. and South Africa following the discovery of a new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus in both the nations. All individuals who have entered Switzerland from these two countries since 14 December have been asked to go into mandatory quarantine for 10 days.
The ban has been introduced to particularly stop travel from these countries for tourism purposes. The Federal Council has approved amendments to COVID-19 Ordinance 3 prohibiting air travel between Switzerland and the U.K. and South Africa. The Federal Office of Civil Aviation (FOCA) already ordered flights between Switzerland and these two countries to be suspended as of midnight on Sunday, December 20.
A temporary derogation from the flight ban is being considered for residents of U.K. or South Africa who currently staying in Switzerland so that they may return home. That is also the case for individuals residing in Switzerland and currently staying in those two countries. However, it is imperative that such return journeys do not lead to infections.
The Federal Council also decided to withdraw freedom of movement privileges from residents of the U.K. until December 31. Therefore, people from the U.K. are subject to a general ban on entering Switzerland. Freedom of movement privileges for British citizens was due to expire at the end of the year anyway. Both, the UK and South African authorities were given prior notice of the measures. Initial indications are that the new variant of the coronavirus is significantly more transmissible than the existing strain. It is yet to confirmed as to what extent the new strain has spread outside the U.K. and South Africa. No cases of the new strain have so far been identified in Switzerland.