(Further updates are at the end of the article)
Back in August we wrote about the situation regarding employer-mandated COVID-19 vaccination in Switzerland, and mentioned another topic that we’ve been covering, that of the national COVID-19 certificate.
In June, 60% of Swiss voters had approved the initial text of the COVID-19 Act. However, subsequent to that, there were a sufficiently large number of opponents to the certificate (186,000 signatures were collected, far exceeding the 50,000 minimum required) to force a referendum vote on the issue, which was held yesterday.
The opponents had claimed that the certificate is discriminatory against those who are unvaccinated and that it is unconstitutional to enforce such a requirement on Swiss citizens and to make it the basis on which they are able to do or participate in, many activities.
On Sunday, Swiss voters backed the federal government’s pandemic response plan, with 62.01% of voters (2,222,373 voted ‘yes’ and 1,361,284 voted ‘no’) supporting the legal changes passed earlier this year (with some amendments) to provide financial aid to people hit by the COVID-19 crisis and in support of the certificates, which which provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination, recovery or a negative test and which are currently required to enter bars, restaurants and certain events.
Turnout for the referendum was almost 66%, with 24 of the country’s 26 cantons voting ‘yes’. Schwyz, which also voted ‘no’ in June, and Appenzell Inner Rhoden, were the only two who voted ‘no’. To see the voting breakdown, hit this link.
In an update that has and will affect many people, including any Australians who are currently en route to Switzerland, as a consequence of the new Omicron COVID-19 variant, the Swiss government has announced new restrictions for those arriving in the country.
Travellers from an ever-evolving list of countries will have to present a negative PCR test and quarantine for ten days on arrival.
The list of countries that fall under the new bans/ restrictions is constantly changing, as are the entry requirements. There has already been much confusion in the last 24 hours, so if you have an imminent trip to Switzerland, please check if your country is listed as a “country with a variant of concern” and if so, the requirements to which you will be subject if you are in fact able to enter. Anyone entering Switzerland from these countries must present a negative test result and quarantine for ten days.
Also confirm any travel restrictions with your country’s official travel advice. For example, as their government website states, those arriving from the United Kingdom who just wish to transit through Switzerland to another country will need to self-quarantine in Switzerland for ten days.
On Friday, 8,032 new COVID-19 cases were reported in Switzerland. Numbers are currently doubling every two weeks.
30/11/21 – There have been further additions to Switzerland’s list of ‘countries with a variant of concern’, effective 30 November 2021, 00h00 :
Please check the link as per above for updates.
3/12/21 – The requirement for travellers to quarantine if they arrive from list of ‘countries with a variant of concern’ has been lifted, as cases of the variant have been confirmed in Switzerland (including in Basel). Instead, all arrivals must test for Covid-19 at their own expense before entering the country from December 4, 2021.
A further test will be required between the fourth and seventh day of arrival in Switzerland.
There are also new restrictions for those residing in Switzerland. The number of Covid-19 infections in Switzerland is still increasing – there were 9,951 new cases recorded on Friday. Just over 65% of the population has been fully vaccinated.
Check the Swiss government site for updates and further changes before you decide to travel there.