October half term break is fast approaching and many of us have plans to travel, some visiting friends and family for the first time since the pandemic hit. Over the last 18 months we have learnt to navigate the ever changing rules both here in Switzerland and abroad. Here is a snapshot of some more recent changes.
The Covid Certificate was introduced here 7th June 2021 with the aim of creating more freedom of movement. It provides documentary evidence of either a vaccine, recovery from Covid within a 180 day period or a negative test. The QR code contains the relevant information either stored in the app or in pdf form to be printed.
From 13th September the Covid Certificate, along with a piece of identification became a requirement at restaurants, bars and indoor leisure facilities. Tests for the Certificate were paid for by the government for Swiss residents and eligible travellers.
As of this Monday 11th October, tests will no longer be free for most residents. The cost of the tests will be between CHF40-50. As an example, the CMC in Nyon are charging CHF47 for a rapid antigen test.
Some reasons behind this decision were the huge costs of testing, CHF47 million per week based on 1 million tests. Also, the slowing rate of the vaccination program, this week 60% of the population is vaccinated, just below the European average by a few points.
There are some exemptions for paying for testing:
- if you are under 16 years of age
- if you have covid symptoms (no Certificate will be issued)
- if you are waiting for your 2nd shot of the vaccine (free until 30th Nov)
- if you have a medical certificate showing you are unable to take the vaccine.
Now fully vaccinated people travelling into Switzerland must obtain the Swiss Covid Certificate. It is free for EU/EFTA countries but for other non EU/EFTA countries including the US, UK and India there is a cost of CHF30. All travellers must complete the Swiss Passenger Locator Form online before entry into Switzerland.
There is an upcoming second Swiss vote on 28th November to decide whether to make the Covid Certificate illegal. The result of the last vote, held early June was 62% in favour of the Covid Certificate.
Click here for more information on the latest government Covid guidelines.