Switzerland says ‘premature’ to lift entry restrictions at Italian border

Switzerland’s frontiers have been closed and strictly controlled since March 13, when the government limited land border crossings from Italy to curb the spread of the virus. Keystone / Davide Agosta

The Swiss authorities say it’s still too early to lift entry restrictions with Italy on June 3, the date on which its southern neighbour will open its borders.

Keystone-SDA/sb

The Federal Council (executive body) said in a statement on June 2 that it plans to maintain border restrictions with Italy “until further notice”, as granting a reciprocal frontier arrangement with Italy would be “premature”.

This means that, as of Wednesday, Swiss citizens will be able to travel to and return from Italy, but Italians or Italian residents will not be able to do likewise in Switzerland.

The Federal Council added that it plans to coordinate the opening of Switzerland’s borders with Italy’s other neighbours, in consultation with the Swiss cantons bordering Italy.

Switzerland’s frontiers have been closed and strictly controlled since March 13, when the government limited land border crossings from Italy to curb the spread of Covid-19. Restrictions on entry by land and by air were later extended to all Schengen and non-Schengen states.

Owing to the positive evolution of the epidemic in Switzerland, many of the unprecedented lockdown measures have been relaxed, including the easing of some border restrictions. The government plans with France, Germany and Austria to lift all travel restrictions among the four countries on June 15 if the virus situation continues to evolve positively.

Too early                                                                           

Meanwhile, Italy has unilaterally decided to reopen its borders as of June 3. But Switzerland has already told its southern neighbour that lifting border controls from that date was too early. Currently only cross-border workers can cross into Switzerland from Italy. 

“Switzerland intends to coordinate the border regime with Italy as soon as possible and remains in close contact with the Italian authorities,” the statement went on.

+ Swiss to re-open borders with neighbouring countries

At present, strict controls remain in place at border crossing points with Italy. Only Swiss citizens, Swiss resident permit-holders, those entering the country for professional reasons (e.g., those who work here and have a permit to prove it), essential health workers, those transiting through or “in a situation of absolute necessity”, can currently enter the country.

In Italy, the total death toll since the outbreak began on February 21 stood at 33,475 on June 1, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain. The number of confirmed cases amounts to 233,197, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Russia, Brazil, Spain and Britain.

In Switzerland there have been 30,818 confirmed cases and 1,920 deaths as of June 2.

Links to further sources on travelling to and staying in Switzerland

The State Secretariat for Migration: updated information on the situation at the Swiss borders, with a helpline to answer questions about refusal of entry into Switzerland and the exceptions. 
 
The Swiss foreign ministry: information in French, German and Italian about the situation regarding foreign travel and the steps to be followed by Swiss citizens going abroad  

The Federal Office for Public Health (FOPH): live updates of the national situation, as well as recommendations, public safety measures, and details of upcoming announcements.

Follow SWI swissinfo.ch here, on Facebook, and on Twitter for timely updates on the situation in Switzerland. 

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