The travellers from India can rejoice as Switzerland will now open the doors for fully vaccinated tourists into its border. The government’s Federal Council of Public Health has conveyed that persons from countries with a variant of concern like India, who have been vaccinated or who have recovered from COVID-19, will be allowed to enter without the need for a negative test or quarantine.
However, those who are arriving from a country with a variant of the virus of concern, will be permitted entry only it is certain that the vaccination offers good protection. Those who have neither been vaccinated nor have recovered must present a negative PCR test or rapid antigen test and go into quarantine on entry, said the Federal Council. What does this mean? Well, this means that people who have been vaccinated or who have recovered do not have to produce a negative test even when travelling from countries where the Delta variant is widespread (such as India or the United Kingdom) and do not have to quarantine on entry.
Good news is that there is no need to quarantine on arrival for Indian travellers who have got fully vaccinated. While the country does not ask for a negative RT-PCR test report, the airline that you may choose to fly may require you to carry the report conducted within a certain timeframe. So, please check with the concerned airline before making your travel plans.
“The vaccines used in Switzerland are only slightly less effective against the Delta variant and thus still offer a very high level of protection,” said the Council. The Swiss government has also announced that COVID certificates will be permitted as supporting documents in case of international travel and areas of application in the country.
In an FAQ, Switzerland’s Federal Council of Public Health said that, “From 1 July, the federal government works on the assumption that anyone who wants a COVID certificate will have received one. From this date, only COVID certificates will be permitted as supporting documents for the areas of application in Switzerland. This applies to cases set out in the COVID-19 Special Situation Ordinance, so e.g. events, cinemas, theatres and restaurants if they wish to restrict entry to those who are vaccinated, have tested negative or recovered.”
“In international travel and in the context of contact quarantine, alternative supporting documents are still possible,” it added. Additionally, children can also be issued with a COVID certificate of testing or recovery and the certificates of all family members can be stored in a single app, according to the Council.
A COVID certificate allows people to resume certain activities and serves as evidence that an individual is either protected against the virus or it is highly unlikely that he/she is infectious.
Meanwhile a Swiss Airlines spokesperson told ToI that, “For the moment, there is no direct flight between India and Switzerland and transit through other countries might be restricted. Visiting other Schengen countries internally from Switzerland might be restricted.” The embassy website asks travellers to “check with the authorities of concerned countries.”
“The embassy of Switzerland in New Delhi is currently accepting all visa categories for persons arriving from third countries like India, who can prove that they have been fully vaccinated. Booking of a prior appointment is mandatory for all application types. VFS Global Services is operational and accepting visa applications at the centres in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin and Hyderabad,” website of Swiss embassy in India says.
The Federal Council pointed that, “case numbers and hospital admissions due to COVID-19 are continuing to fall sharply. In addition, around half of the adult population will be fully vaccinated by the end of the month. However, caution is still warranted.”
Meanwhile shops, leisure and sporting facilities will be able to make full use of their available capacity. Water parks may also reopen. However, a restriction of two-thirds’ capacity will apply to events and venues where no COVID certificate is required.