On 17 September 2021, the Federal Council announced new testing and administrative requirements for entering Switzerland.
The move comes at a time of concern over the impact of approaching cold weather and autumn holidays on the spread of the virus. Last year, the number of Covid-19 patients in Swiss hospitals rose sharply in October. At the beginning of October 2020 there were around 260. By 2 November 2020, there were more than 3,000 Covid-19 patients receiving hospital treatment.
Last week, the Federal Council said that there is no doubt that returning holidaymakers contribute to the spread of the virus. Data from the cantonal contact tracing offices indicates that returning travellers contributed to the worsening situation after the summer, said the federal government.
Entry form required for everyone
From 20 September 2021, those entering the country by any means will need to fill out an online form – Swiss PLF. This requirement will apply to the vaccinated, unvaccinated and recovered.
Compulsory testing on entry for travellers who have not been vaccinated or have not recovered
Those who are neither vaccinated or recovered will also need to present a negative test (antigen or PCR) on entry and test again within 4 to 7 days of arrival. This test is subject to a fee and the results must be sent to the relevant cantonal authority.
The vaccinated or recovered must present a valid Covid certificate on entry but are not required to test.
Anyone failing to follow the reporting and testing rules will risk a fine of up to CHF 200. The fines are CHF 100 for incomplete forms and CHF 200 for missing test certificates.
The test and entry form requirements do not apply to travellers in transit through Switzerland without stopping, drivers who transport people or goods professionally, and cross-border commuters or people entering from border areas. Children under 16 are also exempt from the test requirement.
Swiss Covid certificates for individuals vaccinated or recovered abroad
From 20 September 2021, anyone who has been vaccinated abroad with a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency will be able to obtain a Swiss Covid certificate. This includes tourists. Applications will be processed by cantonal authorities.