Over 2,000 Swiss flown home in repatriation operation

Some 2,000 Swiss nationals have been repatriated since March 24. In the picture, two passengers return to Geneva from Algiers, Algeria, on March 29. Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi

Three flights from Peru, Tunisia and Cameroon arrived in Switzerland on Wednesday transporting Swiss nationals who had been stranded due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This content was published on April 2, 2020 - 10:19

Since March 24, over 2,000 Swiss have been repatriated on 13 flights organised by the Swiss foreign ministry.

Those people who were flown home had been unable to organise their return themselves owing to travel restrictions caused by Covid-19, the ministry said on its website. 

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The historic repatriation campaign is being organised by the Swiss foreign ministry in cooperation with other countries. However, the tourists have to pay towards the chartered return flights and must stay in self-isolation at home for at least ten days upon arrival as a preventive measure. 

According to the ministry, thousands of Swiss travellers are still stranded abroad.

More flights are planned for the next few days. Two planes are expected on Thursday from Yangon (Myanmar) and Casablanca (Morocco). Flights from Phuket (Thailand), Quito (Ecuador) and Phnom Penh (Cambodia) are scheduled to land in Zurich on Friday. On Sunday, a flight from Sydney is scheduled to arrive in Switzerland. 

Around 1,000 people from other European countries have been able to join the repatriation flights organised by the Swiss foreign ministry. In exchange, an additional 700 Swiss nationals have benefited from repatriation flights coordinated by other governments. 

"This shows the tremendous solidarity right now," Johannes Matyassy, head of consular services at the foreign ministry, told Blick newspaper.

The government last week called on all Swiss travellers to return. About 17,000 of them have registered with the authorities via the Travel Admin app.

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