Switzerland to drop pre-travel test from Saturday

·2 min read
A cable car in Zermatt, Switzerland (Getty Images/iStockphoto)
A cable car in Zermatt, Switzerland (Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Switzerland is set to drop its requirement for a pre-travel PCR test this Saturday, 22 January - but only for fully vaccinated visitors.

Those who can prove recent recovery from Covid may also visit without a pre-travel test.

Most unvaccinated travellers remain barred - but the few who qualify for an exemption will still have to take a test prior to visiting the country, though they will no longer have to take post-arrival tests four to seven days after arrival.

Unvaccinated children and teens under 18 are still able to enter Switzerland with vaccinated parents or guardian.

The update will be welcomed by families who stand to save hundreds on the additional tests, especially those wishing to visit Switzerland in its peak ski season.

In the same announcement, the Swiss government extended its recommendation to work from home until the end of February, following a vote by its regions (cantons).

“In view of the continuing strained situation in hospitals, the Federal Council, after consulting the cantons, social partners, parliamentary committees and relevant associations, is extending the requirement to work from home until the end of February, and the remaining measures until the end of March,” said the Federal Council in a statement.

“All of the cantons generally came out in favour of extending the validity of the measures,” it continued.

The country had added the pre-travel test to its list of entry requirements in December, amid concerns around the Omicron variant.

Switzerland is currently seeing higher case figures than the UK, with 1,694 confirmed cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period (the UK had 924).

From 31 January, the country’s rules around proof of vaccination will also change, in line with the EU’s.

An expiry date of nine months is set to be stamped on proof of vaccination.

This means that travellers should ensure they have had a booster within 270 days of their second vaccine jab in order for their vaccine pass to remain valid. Your booster jab will also remain valid for 270 days.

“The Federal Council is shortening the validity period of all vaccination certificates from 365 to 270 days from 31 January. This ensures that the Swiss certificate continues to be recognised in the EU. Certificates issued as proof of recovery from Covid-19 will also only be valid for 270 days,” outlined yesterday’s statement.

In further good news for travellers with holidays booked, the UK government is said to be considering dropping the “day two” test for vaccinated arrivals from next week.

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