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travel restrictions Over 50,000 denied entry to Switzerland since borders tightened

closed border

A closed border between Germany and Switzerland at Weil am Rhein.

(Keystone / Georgios Kefalas)

Since first restricting border crossings on March 13, Swiss customs officers have turned away some 56,000 people, they said on Sunday.

Confirming figures first reported in the Le Matin Dimanche newspaper, the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) also said they have been issuing an average of 150 fines per day to those contravening the new border rules.

Such instances include continuing to go cross-border shopping, damaging barriers at the borders, or crossing at unauthorised points.

Though they did not give precise numbers on the numbers of fines issued for each infraction, an FCA spokeswoman told the Keystone-SDA agency that the number of fines for having crossed the border to go shopping were much fewer in the southern canton of Ticino – where Italian rules on entry are very strict – compared with the French-bordering canton of Geneva.

On March 13, the Swiss government limited land border crossings from Italy, a move it then extended to Germany, France, Austria, Spain, and later the entire Schengen region.

Currently, only Swiss citizens, Swiss residents, cross-border workers, and those coming to Switzerland on business can enter the country by land.

The FCA says it expects a sharp increase in border traffic from Monday, as the country enters the first stage of its coronavirus exit strategy. In preparation, five border points in canton Geneva, which had been closed so as to funnel traffic through fewer and bigger crossings, were reopened last week.

Keystone-SDA/dos

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