Switzerland Placed on UK Quarantine List
27th August 2020 | James Cove, Switzerland
Last modified on May 14th, 2021
It is the latest alpine country where people need to isolate for 14-days on return to the UK . Austria and France are already on the list, plus all the countries in the Pyrenees. PlanetSKI reports from Switzerland. UPDATED
It has been widely predicted and now it has happened.
We reported on the possibility earlier this week on PlanetSKI, Switzerland looks set to be next country to be added to UK quarantine list
People returning from Switzerland need to go in isolation after 04.00 on Saturday 29th August.
It follows a recent spike in cases in the country with 39 people out off 100,000 being tested positive over the past 14-days.
The government said there had been a “consistent increase” in the weekly case rate in Switzerland over the past four weeks, with cases per 100,000 rising from 18.5 to 22 over the past 7-days.
Swiss Tourism Federation director Barbara Gisi has said over 1.6 million British people travelled to the country last year.
The UK is the third largest foreign market for Switzerland.
“Swiss tourism cannot afford to do without guests from abroad in the long term,” she said.
People who do not self-isolate can be fined up to £1,000 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and £480 in Scotland, and there are fines up to £5,000 for persistent offenders.
For some currently in Switzerland it will cause great inconvenience on return to the UK , while others are simply accepting it.
And what about the reaction of the Swiss?
Some of our readers are currently in the Swiss Alps.
“We’re not that bothered about quarantine to be honest, it’s a good idea in many ways especially if the schools are to be given half a chance,” said one PlanetSKI reader who is in Verbier.
“We are vulnerable so always take extra care wherever we are.
“Many people are not socially distanced or wearing masks and I think they have probably already had the virus and feel immune or they are young and invincible.
“Of course it’s an inconvenience but we would self-isolate anyway out of respect for others.
“You never know what you could be carrying back with you and it’s a good idea to be careful in these strange times.
“We are lucky that it won’t affect our work but if it did, we would take a holiday in the UK to avoid being caught out.”
PlanetSKI is currently in the Jura mountains in Switzerland and hoping to avoid quarantine.
We are booked on a Channel Crossing and arriving back in the UK on Friday evening.
Even though we are driving across France we do not need to quarantine if we remain in our car and do not let anyone else in.
In other words there is no contact with anyone or anything.
The same rule applies to the Eurotunnel train, however there is some talk that ruling may have changed.
We shall see on Friday.
Many in Switzerland think it is an over-reaction by the UK government and the country has handled the pandemic well despite the recent upsurge.
It has had 41,006 confirmed cases and 1,724 deaths in a population of 8.5m.
Many of the new cases come from the city of Zurich in the north of the country.
My anecdotal evidence shows me people seemed to be treating it less seriously in the mountains, with fewer people wearing masks.
“Look at the nature, the virus doesn’t live here,” was what one local told me as I filled up with petrol.
It was hard to disagree.
I passed by the ski resort of Verbier in the south of the country and it looked like any other summer in this part of the Alps.
Yet back in winter it was a known hotspot and a local doctor called for the area to be sealed off from the rest of the Valais as the virus spread through the resort.
Covid-19 is unseen as it spreads.
However some are taking it seriously on the lifts in Verbier.
From Monday masks will be compulsory in shops.
Earlier this week I had been in the German-speaking city of Basel in the north of the country, near to Zurich.
Most people were wearing masks in shops and garages, and out on the streets.
And on public transport.
But not everyone was convinced.
“My German language teacher, an otherwise responsible Swiss citizen, says it is an affront to her individual freedom and national identity to wear a mask and refuses to do so,” was how one local resident put it to me.
The quarantine move will have an impact on the rest of the summer for tourism from the UK and will raise concerns about next winter too.
Some skiers and snowboarders will be concerned that quarantine can be imposed so quickly and may not want to take the risk at the moment of booking a winter snowsports holiday in Switzerland if quarantine can be imposed so swiftly and with little warning.
Switzerland Tourism in London has already cancelled its traditional ‘Winter Launch’ event to the travel media.
A new guidebook on the Swiss Alps has put back its publication date by a year.
Many ski resorts will be looking to the winter and wondering what it may mean for bookings and what happens if similar measures are introduced next winter.
We will be updating with further reaction and analysis later…