Flights to Switzerland from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa have been halted, reported RTS.
In addition, anyone arriving in Switzerland from Hong Kong, Israel or Belgium, must now show a negative Covid test and quarantine for 10 days, announced the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on 26 November 2021.
Entry from these southern African nations into Switzerland is now only possible for those with Swiss nationality or a residency permit for a country in the Schengen zone. The rules go into force at 8pm on 26 November 2021. Repatriation of those with Swiss citizenship or Swiss residency remains possible. However, the government is not offering repatriation flights.
A new varient of the SARS-CoV-2 virus (B.1.1.529) detected in southern Africa has many in the scientific community concerned. It has more mutations than any previous variant and may render current vaccines less effective. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified it as a variant of concern and Switzerland’s government has taken immediate measures to prevent or at least slow the spread of the variant in Switzerland.
Test and quarantine requirements could be extended to other nations, said the FOPH. Although, neighbouring nations would be not be added.
The federal government has asked the cantons to contact all those who have arrived in Switzerland from southern Africa over the last two weeks and advise them to take a PCR test so that any SARS-CoV-2 virus detected can be sequenced.