Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Switzerland updates COVID-19-related high-risk countries list from Sept. 7; travel and business disruptions remain.

Alert Begins 09 Sep 2020 02:40 PM UTC
Alert Expires 23 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and business disruptions remain

Summary
As of Sept. 7, Swiss authorities have updated a coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related list of high-risk countries from which travelers must undergo a mandatory 10-day self-quarantine to include Croatia, French Polynesia, Guyana, Lebanon, Libya, Paraguay, San Marino, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, and the UAE.

Other nations maintained on the list of high-risk countries include the following:

 

  • Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, the Bahamas, Bahrain, Belize, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cape Verde, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Iraq, Israel, Kosovo, Kuwait, Maldives, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Namibia, North Macedonia, Palestinian Territories, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Romania, Sint Maarten, Spain (excluding Canary Islands), South Africa, Suriname, Turks and Caicos, and the United States. Authorities have removed Belgium, El Salvador, Eswatini, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Mexico, and Oman.

 


Officials previously removed entry restrictions for residents of Schengen Area countries and the UK. Entry restrictions were also removed for travelers from the following countries:

 

  • Algeria, Andorra, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Morocco, Monaco, New Zealand, Romania, Rwanda, San Marino, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay, and Vatican City

 


Travelers will still have to observe a 10-day self-quarantine if the country is placed on the list of high-risk countries. Restrictions do not apply to freight traffic, individuals in transit, and those with compelling reasons for travel.

Authorities have permitted most activities and businesses to resume, provided social distancing and hygiene requirements are implemented. Authorities no longer recommend work from home, and social distancing measures have been reduced to 1.5 meters (5 feet). Outdoor gatherings in excess of 1,000 people are banned until at least Oct. 1; however, smaller demonstrations are permitted to resume. Protective face coverings are compulsory at all demonstrations and on public transport, including flights. Authorities recommend persons maintain a social distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) where possible.

All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice in response to government reviews and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The adjustment of entry restrictions by the Swiss government corresponds with similar actions taken by other regional governments monitoring the evolution COVID-19 activity globally. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

As countries relax blanket restrictions across Europe, authorities could begin to reintroduce sporadic, highly targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks. Such measures could apply to neighborhoods or specific facilities, including schools, factories, or accommodation and office blocks. Mandatory social distancing procedures in public places and on public transport, as well as widespread voluntary “self-policing” by residents, will assist in reducing the potential for contagion, negating the necessity for a large-scale, blanket reintroduction of significant restrictions.

Advice
Reconfirm all travel plans and business appointments. Follow all official directives. Abide by national health and safety measures. Carry proper identification and other necessary travel documents to present at security checks; remain polite and nonconfrontational with border officials. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Plan for processing delays if traveling or routing freight across Swiss borders. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medicines will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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