Switzerland will lift coronavirus-imposed restrictions at its borders with all European Union and EFTA countries – and the United Kingdom – from June 15.This content was published on June 5, 2020 - 14:42
The announcement, made on Friday, follows a previous decision that borders with neighbouring Austria, Germany and France would be opened on that date.
Restrictions for Germany and Austria were already partially eased - for people with family in these countries for example - on May 16.
“Due to the current epidemiological situation, the current entry restrictions can also be lifted for other EU/EFTA countries and for the United Kingdom from June 15,” the Federal Department of Justice and Police said in a statement after a government meeting on Friday.
The government’s position follows that of many other European countries, the statement continued. The easing applies to 27 EU countries, as well fellow EFTA members Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as well as the UK.
Switzerland’s southern neighbour Italy lifted its border controls with Switzerland on June 3, but the Swiss government said a similar move on the Swiss side would be premature.
Austria, meanwhile, decided to open its border with Switzerland one week earlier than planned on June 4. While Swiss residents are now allowed to travel into Austria and Italy, Austrians and Italians will not be given reciprocal rights until the agreed date of June 15. Currently only cross-border workers can cross into Switzerland from 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.
Meanwhile on Friday, the EU said it would only fully open internal borders by the end of June and begin lifting restrictions on travel to and from other countries in July.
The EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said at a news conference after a video call among EU interior ministers that most EU governments would lift internal border controls by June 15, but that some would take until the end of the month to do so.
"So that means that internal border controls are lifted by the end of June, I guess. We should consider the gradual lifting of restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU early July," she said.
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