From 27 November 2021, Switzerland changed its travel entry rules for visitors from the UK.
While Britons had previously been allowed into the country with proof of full vaccination, from 27 November all UK visitors will have to show both a negative PCR test result, taken within the 72 hours prior to arrival, and self-isolate for 10 days.
This is because the UK is on the country’s list of nations with a “variant of concern”, following the detection of multiple cases of the omicron variant of Covid-19, and it means that winter holidays to ski resorts in the Swiss Alps will be wiped out by the mandatory quarantine.
But the rules are even trickier for those who may be flying into Switzerland but travelling on to other countries, either by air or overland.
So what does this mean for travellers who have ski holidays booked in the French Alps, or connecting flights passing through Switzerland?
Here’s everything you need to know.
What are the new rules for UK travellers to Switzerland?
All visitors to Switzerland from the UK (who must be fully vaccinated, as per its previous travel rules) must now present proof of full vaccination as well as a negative result from a PCR or lateral flow test, and then self-isolate for 10 days after arrival.
This can be done at the traveller’s choice of accommodation.
They must then take a second PCR test or rapid antigen test between the fourth and seventh day after arrival. “It is necessary to inform the cantonal authority about the result of the second test and to send the number of the entry form,” reads a statement from Switzerland Tourism.
What if I am flying into Switzerland, but skiing in France?
Many people access French or Italian ski resorts by flying into Swiss airports such as Geneva, so there was some initial confusion around travel rules for those entering Switzerland but connecting on to another country.
On 30 November, the Foreign Office updated its guidelines for travel to Switzerland to clarify the quarantine rules for passengers transiting onward to another country.
“Following the update of a Swiss ordinance on 30 November, there is no quarantine requirement for travellers arriving in Switzerland from the UK who wish to travel onward to another country, as long as travel through Switzerland is less than 24 hours and does not involve a stopover,” reads the current FCDO advice.
“If you are transiting Switzerland, you are strongly advised to have your onward travel booked in advance and to have confirmed you meet the entry requirements of your destination country (you may be asked to provide proof of your onward travel and accommodation). If you are transiting by air, you must complete an online form and provide contact details,” it continues.
This means that travellers flying into airports such as Geneva and travelling overland to ski resorts in neighbouring France and Italy will be able to swerve quarantine.
How long will the new rules be in place?
Switzerland’s authorities have not put an end date on the new rules for British travellers - according to a statement from the Swiss tourist board “It is unclear how long these restrictions are in place”.
They are understood to be indefinite, but may be adjusted when more is known about the omicron variant, its symptoms and response to the vaccine, and the number of cases within the UK.
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