Over 112,000 people turned away at the Swiss border during lockdown

Swiss foreign minister Ignazio Cassis, right, greets Italian counterpart Luigi Di Maio at the Chiasso Brogeda customs border a day after easing of border restrictions. Keystone / Alessandro Crinari

During a three-month span, the Federal Customs Administration (FCA) turned back 112,049 people at the country’s borders due to coronavirus-related restrictions.  

Keystone-SDA/ac

On Tuesday, the customs authority took stock of the measures taken to combat the spread of the virus. Between March 16 and June 14 – when border restrictions were in place – cross-border traffic dropped by 80%. As soon as the restrictions were lifted on June 15, movement across the border rebounded sharply with current levels – to just 10% less than the pre-coronavirus crisis period.  

While 112,049 people were prevented from entering Switzerland during lockdown, exceptions were made for 16,854 for whom entry was an absolute necessity. Customs agents fined 8,848 people for non-essential excursions; most of these involved attempts to go shopping over the border.  

During the border tightening period, crime dropped by over 40% compared to the same period last year (15,400 violations related to migration, narcotics and arms compared to 27,125 in 2019). The lifting of border controls and the resumption of traffic has led to a significant increase in criminal cases in all areas, according to the FCA. 

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