Switzerland lifts travel restrictions on residents of Portugal, others

  • Lusa
  • 29 October 2020

Residents of Portugal will no longer have to serve a 10-day quarantine after their arrival.

The federal authorities in Switzerland are lifting restrictions on the entry of people from most of the countries and regions that had been on their travel blacklist, including Portugal.

Nationals or residents of these countries will no longer have to serve a 10-day quarantine after their arrival; anyone who broke this rule has been liable to a fine of 10,000 Swiss francs (€9,350).

In deciding whether a state or area presents a high risk of infection, Switzerland had considered new infections per 100,000 persons over the last 14 days. If the incidence exceeds Switzerland’s own rate by at least 60 then the country is blacklisted.

On 25 September, Switzerland extended its list of countries from which travellers had to quarantine on arrival, including Portugal.

Switzerland itself had come through the first wave of the pandemic in the spring relatively unscathed, but for several weeks now the number of daily cases has doubled each week.

The authorities have warned that, if residents do not make more of an effort to avoid transmission, hospital facilities may become congested within two weeks.

From Thursday “and for an indefinite period” discos and nightclubs are to remain closed, while restaurants and bars may only operate until 11 p.m.

All events with more than 50 people and all non-professional sporting and cultural activities with more than 15 people are banned.

Switzerland will also authorise rapid tests from 2 November onwards.

“Nobody wants a second semi-lockdown,” said the federal president, Simonetta Sommaruga, in outlining the new measures.

In the case of neighbouring France the new blacklist only contains the Hauts-de-France regions, the capital and Polynesia, that is, these are the only parts of that country that have coronavirus statistics worse than in Switzerland.

Until now, only the regions bordering on Switzerland had been kept off the blacklist because of their very close economic ties, with tens of thousands of residents of France forming an important part of the Swiss economy.

Switzerland also has a very large Portuguese community, some of whom normally travel frequently between the two countries.

The list of countries and regions from which it is necessary to quarantine, which previously contained dozens of names, has thus been shortened and only includes the French regions mentioned, plus Andorra, Armenia, Belgium and the Czech Republic.