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Swiss examine Covid test obligation for travellers from China

Travellers at Geneva airport in December © Keystone / Jean-christophe Bott

While countries around the world impose curbs on travellers from China as Covid-19 cases there surge, the Swiss authorities are still weighing up possible measures.

On Wednesday health experts from the 27 EU member states couldn’t agree on compulsory testing for travellers from China, but they strongly recommended it.

The EU health experts also recommended, among other things, that medical or FFP2 masks be worn on aircraft from China.

The Federal Office of Public Health told the Swiss News Agency Keystone-SDA on Thursday that it acknowledged the results of the meeting and was examining them in the light of epidemiological criteria.

Also on Thursday Germany, Sweden and Belgium ordered compulsory testing for travellers from China. Several EU states, such as Italy, France and Spain, have already tightened the entry rules on their own initiative in recent days.

Another wave

China, home to 1.4 billion people, abruptly abandoned its “zero-Covid” policy last month and infections are surging across a population with little immunity after being shielded since the virus emerged three years ago in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Millions of people will travel within China later this month for the Lunar New Year holiday, an event the World Health Organization (WHO) has said could generate another wave of infections without more higher vaccination rates and other precautions.

From January 8, the obligation to quarantine people entering China will also be lifted. Experts expect the massive outbreak to continue until March or April.

In Switzerland, 4,166 new Covid cases were reported on Thursday for the previous seven-day period (12,632 new cases were reported on December 29). There were 225 new hospital admissions and 25 reported deaths. The number of new lab-confirmed cases has fallen considerably as the authorities no longer cover the costs of tests.

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SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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