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Switzerland Imposes Further Restrictions on UK Arrivals

It has added the UK to its list of countries where it decided there is a variant of concern. It will have an have an impact on the start of the ski season that is getting underway. There are question marks over people flying into Geneva to access ski resorts in France. UPDATED

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The list is described as “critical to Switzerland’s health-related measures at the border”.

All people allowed into Switzerland from the UK will be required to show a negative test result and quarantine for 10 days irrespective of whether they have been vaccinated or recovered from the virus.

We reported on the situation last night as quarantine was introduced.

The new measures build on the restrictions and will be seen as a blow to the approaching ski season.

It will have implications for many of the French ski areas as Geneva airport serves as a transport hub.

The regulations on transit passengers at Geneva airport have not been confirmed by Swiss authorites though the UK government web site states that travellers from the UK must isolate “including if transiting through Switzerland to another country.”

If this is the case it will have a significant impact on the approaching season, depending on how long the rule remains in place.

The Czech Republic and the Netherlands were added to the Swiss list on Saturday alongside the UK.

Belgium was already on it.

First news of the change in entry requirement for Switzerland came in a tweet from the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office on Saturday evening.

It was described as “to stem the spread of the new Omicron coronavirus variant to travellers arriving from Britain”.

See here for the full details on the UK government web site on travel rules and entry requirements for Switzerland.

Some ski resorts in Switzerland currently have slopes open, including Zermatt, Saas-Fee, Andermatt, Engelberg, Davos/Klosters, Verbier and Laax.

Many other resorts are set to open over the next few weeks.

See the full details of the new rules on the web site of the Federal Office of Public Health

This was its initial information:

Federal Office for Public Health

Federal Office for Public Health

However the infographic and details were later updated taking out the last, and key, paragraph: ‘only people who are Swiss nationals or hold a residence permit for Switzerland or a country in the Schengen area can enter Switzerland from these countries’.

Federal Office for Public Health

Federal Office for Public Health

It had led to a number of news media outlets including The Local – Switzerland, PlanetSKI and others reporting that UK residents arriving from the UK would be banned from entering as most are not Swiss nationals and or do not hold a residence permit.

The UK is also not part of the Schengen area.

We sought clarification on the statement, and are pleased to update.

People who arrived at Zurich airport on Saturday on a flight from South Africa are being urged to get tested for Covid-19 by the Federal Office of Public Health.

They are being contacted by text message asking them to go into immediate quarantine and to get tested.

The passenger list of the Swiss Air flight from Johannesburg is being sent to the cantonal authorities.

People returning from countries where the Omicron variant has been discovered are being asked not to use public transport.

All the ski nations will now be assessing the risk and examining travel and entry requirements.

Easyjet at Innsbruck Airport, Austria

Image © PlanetSKI

Omicron was first found in South Africa.

Further cases have now been confirmed across the world including Australia, Germany, Israel and Hong Kong.

The new variant is heavily mutated and has been designated a “variant of concern” by the World Health Organization.

Scientists are now trying to establish how fast it spreads and whether it could weaken the protection offered by vaccines.

Israel has announced it is banning foreigners from entering the country for 14-days.

The ban is expected to come into force at midnight on Sunday.

Israel has confirmed it has one case of the Omicron strain.

Two cases of the Omicron variant have been recorded in the UK.

It comes as Switzerland holds a referendum on Sunday to support or ditch the country’s Covid-19 pass.

Here at PlanetSKI we will be updating this article as we receive further details and clarification of the position.

There has been some early reaction from readers on the PlanetSKI facebook page:.

James MP – Surely this will change in days when they realise all countries have got it. Germany have it (not on the list) they transit into Switzerland daily.

Charlie Bulbrook – You can still transit to France without quarantine or the negative test according to the Geneva airport website and the Swiss gov website. We have a staff member on a flight now so we’ll confirm in a few hours! I really think these measures are a flash in the pan, knee jerk reaction so no need for anyone to do anything rash at this point.

Neil Phillips – Was pondering over situation, while consuming my favourite ski drink (jagermeister) dreaming of snow!
Move on 5/10 years, if we don’t except new variants, numbers rising etc, etc every winter ski season will be effected, unless we just get on with life
Keep washing hands, masks ( not masks, made by Auntie with old duvets) in crowded situations ( yes I hate this!! )
More boosters ( yes I hate this too, and still not convinced)

Andrew Spencer – The Swiss are deluded if they think Omicron isn’t already within their borders. Making only Brits quarantine isn’t going to help.

Feel free to add you comment here.

Other PlanetSKI readers who have plans to ski in Switzerland this winter have reacted on twitter.

We have endeavoured to ensure all information is correct to the best of our knowledge at time of posting, but do check with the relevant national and local authorities.

All the rules and regulations are subject to change at short notice.

Image © PlanetSKI

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