Quarantine Chaos Continues for British Skiers in or Heading to Switzerland
21st December 2020
Last modified on May 13th, 2021
All flights are banned for the foreseeable future and all people who have arrived from the UK since the 14 of December are required to go into a 10-day quarantine.
Switzerland is the only main alpine country with its ski resorts open and there had been no quarantine requirement going into the country.
It was an attractive proposition for some, not least because there is a new Test & Release scheme on returning to the UK.
For keen skiers and snowboarders wanting a quick snow fix, going into self-isolation over the Xmas break would have been palatable for many.
Now they are stuck in Switzerland and the current requirement is to self-isolate, and at their own expense.
They would not necessarily have to start a ten-day quarantine from today, Monday 21st.
If they feel healthy, they can leave their quarantine ten days after their arrival according to the Federal Office of Public Health.
So someone who arrived in Switzerland eight days ago, and who is not showing any symptoms, must only stay in their hotel or home for another two days.
The move has been taken by the Swiss authorities to prevent the new strain of the virus found in England.
Similar measures have been taken against people arriving from South Africa where the new variant is also spreading.
“All persons who have entered Switzerland from these two countries since December 14th must go into quarantine for 10 days,” the Federal Council of Switzerland said in a statement.
More than 60 flights from the UK landed at Geneva airport last weekend alone.
They would have had around 10,000 people on them.
The Swiss government said it was considering a “temporary derogation from the flight ban” for people resident in Britain currently staying in Switzerland so that they may return home.
It added “that is also the case for persons resident in Switzerland currently staying” in the UK.
The Swiss Foreign ministry advised Swiss citizens in the UK to register their trips and stays on App, Travel Admin.
This would enable them to be contacted for a possible return trip, said Hans-Peter Lenz, head of the foreign ministry’s crisis management centre.
37,500 Swiss nationals live in the UK and many would likely have been planning to return for Xmas.
Switzerland has also withdrawn freedom of movement privileges from UK citizens which were due to end on January 1st 2021 as the transition period for the UK leaving the EU ended.
“Freedom of movement privileges for British citizens were due to expire at the end of the year anyway,” said the Federal Council as it made the move.
“People from the UK are therefore subject to a general ban on entering Switzerland,” it added.
There is no official indication how long the Swiss entry ban will remain in place.
On January 1st 2021 UK nationals will officially qualify as third country nationals.
If there were no coronavirus pandemic, from January 1 British citizens would normally be allowed to enter Switzerland as third country nationals with a valid six-month passport.
They would be allowed to stay in Switzerland and the Schengen area for a maximum total of 90 days over a 180 day period.
No cases of the new strain of Covid-19 have been found in Switzerland so far.