Health experts want stricter entry rules to curb spread of virus

Health experts argue the list of risk countries should also include Singapore, the Bahamas, Tanzania, Romania and Andorra. Keystone / Alexandra Wey

The government is facing pressure to tighten regulations for people returning to Switzerland from countries with high rates of coronavirus infection.

This content was published on July 29, 2020 - 11:08
swissinfo.ch/urs

A panel of experts recommends extending the list of risk countries to include those that do little or no testing, according to the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper.

The experts call for new criteria to be included for the risk list, based on viral spreading trends, epidemiologist Marcel Tanner of the Covid-19 task force is quoted as saying.

However, the Federal Health Office uses the number of new infections as the main benchmark - any country with more than 60 new cases per 100,000 residents for a period of 14 days.

Other criteria are the number of infected people from a country.

Under Swiss regulations, anyone travelling back to Switzerland from a risk country has to stay in quarantine for ten days - even if a recent test found no traces of a Covid-19 infection - and is subject to fines of up to CHF10,000 ($10,880) if they are found ignoring the rules.

Last week, the health authorities expanded the list of risk countries to 42 from 29 and a further update is expected over the next few days.

Tanner said quarantine remained the most efficient way to stop the spread of the virus, but cantonal authorities have repeatedly complained that they don't receive reliable data from the health office about people arriving in the country by air or overland.

However, the costs of setting up medical checkpoints at airports to measure the body temperature of passengers are too high, according to Tanner.

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