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Does the coronavirus affect trips to Switzerland?

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Posts: 79
Arno
Arno
14284 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 23, 2020 - 1:13 PM

Dear travelers,

1. Summary

Entry into Switzerland as a tourist is not possible at the moment. Public transport is operational, but schedules are less frequent and non-essential travels need to be avoided. Border crossings to/from surrounding countries are very limited. Food stores are open. We recommend to keep an eye on this thread and the provided links, and hope that the crisis will be defeated soon. Our website and moderators remain available to help you to plan your future holidays, and we'll be posting images for those who miss the Swiss Alps here: www.myswissalps.com/coronavirus.

2. Resources for information about the coronavirus in Switzerland and elsewhere

Please find the latest information on the current coronavirus (2019-nCoV/COVID-19) through the below links:

3. General recommendations helping you to stop spreading the virus or catching it

General recommendations to limit the risk to catch this virus (or any kind of flu), or infect someone else, are to:

  • stay at home as much as possible, if this is advised by your government or local authorities;
  • carefully wash your hands with soap, and do so often, at least before eating and after a toilet visit. Use an alcohol based hand sanitiser too, at least after using public toilets. Only use paper or clean towels, or a warm air dryer;
  • not touch your face if your hands are not clean;
  • sneeze or cough in your elbow, not in your hand;
  • avoid shaking hands and other physical contact. Maintain 2 meters distance to other people. Avoid farm animals too;
  • avoid mouth masks unless you have flu like symptoms, and only use them correctly. Using them incorrectly can increase the risk;
  • avoid crowds like concerts, public transport rush hour, etc.
  • stay indoors and away from others if you have a fever, are coughing or have any other cold like symptoms;
  • call for medical advice if you have symptoms. Only visit a hospital if you are instructed to do so.

Trip planning tips:

  • Apply the above recommendations both at home and while being out;
  • To keep in mind: there's a flu virus going around the world every year. What makes the coronavirus different, is that it's new and there's no medicine yet, so it's much harder to stop the virus from spreading. Apart from that, there's an economic impact of the measurements trying to stop the virus. The measures put in place are meant to control the spreading of the virus, in order to make sure hospitals are not getting more patients than they can handle;
  • If you had to cancel your trips please find cancellation information below. Of course you're welcome to plan for a new trip. We're here to assist you at the forum: www.myswissalps.com/forum.

4. Cancellation of bookings of Swiss hotels, rail passes and tickets

Please find our tips on cancellation of bookings made for your Switzerland visit here:

5. Update for the situation in Switzerland, 8 April 2020

Patients have been diagnosed positive for the coronavirus all over the world. Italy and Spain have most patients within Europe: about 135,500 and 140,500. Traveling in and to Europe for leisure activities is impossible at the moment. This is the situation for Switzerland:

  • 22,789 patients have been diagnosed positive;
  • As of 25 March 2020, entry into Switzerland is only possible for people living or working there. This ban may be in place for a maximum of 6 months, or may be lifted before that;
  • All public events have been cancelled;
  • Non essential public places like museums, zoos, casino's, cable cars, restaurants and hair salons are closed. This applies until at least 26 April;
  • Essential public facilities like supermarkets, meal delivery services, pharmacies, hospitals, clinics, train stations and petrol stations are open and maintain additional hygiene rules;
  • It is advised to only leave home for grocery shopping and for work that can't be done at home;
  • Gatherings of more than 5 people are not allowed;

Public transport from town to town operates on a reduced schedule until at least 26 April 2020. Saver Day Passes and Supersaver Tickets are not available at the moment. Special tourist trains, chartered trains and some international trains are cancelled. On board restaurants are closed and there are no catering services on the trains. This means that you can travel everywhere, including scenic routes, but only on the regular trains. Nevertheless you need to avoid public transport for leisure trips. If you're still in Switzerland right now, we recommend to explore the immediate surroundings of your base town on foot and follow the advice of the Swiss government and local authorities.

  • Bernina Express: the Express trains are cancelled. The bus between Lugano and Tirano does not operate.
  • Centovalli: trains operate on the Swiss leg: Locarno - Intragna - Camedo.
  • Glacier Express: the Express trains are cancelled.
  • Gotthard Panorama Express: does not operate.
  • Cable cars and mountain trains: they are operational if they are needed to reach towns. They are closed if they are only needed to reach leisure areas, like mountain peaks.
  • The timetable is up to date, be sure to check your schedule before you travel. The timetable includes all modes of transport, including cable cars and mountain trains. Alternatively, links to timetables and the latest news of individual mountain transport/boats/etc. can be found on our activity pages: www.myswissalps.com/activities.

6. Disclaimer

Please note: we are no doctors nor local authorities. Please consult the above websites and your doctor for more information.

Last modified on Apr 8, 2020 - 3:51 PM by Arno
Nitya Singha
Nitya Singha
15 posts
new member
Feb 23, 2020 - 4:51 PM

Thank you very much. I would be grateful if you keep on updating this thread with latest news. Sincerely appreciated.

Yenhan10
Yenhan10
16 posts
new member
Feb 24, 2020 - 1:26 AM

Do Switzerland government ban flights from China or the countries with Covid-19 cases?

Angel7105
Angel7105
33 posts
active member
Feb 24, 2020 - 5:39 AM

hi,

Thanks for the updating of the Covid 19 new in switzerland. We plan to purchase Swiss travel pass for coming trip. Once, bought. Can we get refund ?

Angel7105

Arno
Arno
14284 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 24, 2020 - 8:05 AM in reply to Yenhan10

Hi Yenhan10,

As far as I know this is not the case yet, but some airlines have cancelled flights. Please check the links to get the latest news.

Arno
Arno
14284 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 24, 2020 - 8:06 AM in reply to Angel7105

Hi Angel7105,

Please see my original post, I just updated it.

Yenhan10
Yenhan10
16 posts
new member
Feb 25, 2020 - 4:10 PM

Oh my god, so there's already a case in Switzerland?

Does it affect the Bernina Express which travel to Tirano? Is Tirano being lockdown?

Arno
Arno
14284 posts
expert &
moderator
Feb 25, 2020 - 5:56 PM in reply to Yenhan10

Hi Yenhan10,

This does not affect any travel within Switzerland at the moment, nor to Tirano. Tirano is in the Milan region (Lomdbardia), but not near the quarantined towns.

Last modified on Feb 25, 2020 - 6:05 PM by Arno
rockoyster
rockoyster
8888 posts
expert
Feb 27, 2020 - 9:52 AM
Last modified on Feb 27, 2020 - 9:53 AM by rockoyster
ChriskK
ChriskK
9 posts
new member
Feb 28, 2020 - 5:42 PM

Currently, 14 cases :-(

www.swissinfo.ch/eng/covid-19_switzerland-confirms-second-coronavirus-case/45582788

The risk is still low, but the question is, "Will we be able to enjoy our trip?" We are scheduled to leave for Zurich on March 10th to explore Jungfrau and Zermatt.

Anna
Anna
785 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 28, 2020 - 6:38 PM

Hi all,

To contain the spread, the federal office has issued a temporary ban on events involving more than 1000 people. So the Basel Fasnacht Parade and the Zurich Fasnacht Parade this weekend are both cancelled or scaled down.

Anna

Peterli
Peterli
1077 posts
top member
Feb 28, 2020 - 7:11 PM

The following is a detailed report in today's RTN: www.rtn.ch/rtn/Actualite/Region/20200228-La-Confederation-interdit-les-manifestations-de-plus-de-1-000-personnes.html It is en français but if you are using Chrome which was installed in English, you can right-click and then select "Translate to English". Si vous comprenez déjà le français, ce n'est pas nécessaire.

This interdiction of all gatherings of over 1000 people is (for now) up to March 15 but as things develop, this date could be extended by order of the Conseil fédéral.

Interesting to note that some events, such as hockey playoffs (like the Ajoie - La Chaux-de-Fonds series), will carry on, but in arenas with no spectators (à huis-clos).

Last modified on Feb 28, 2020 - 7:45 PM by Peterli
Peterli
Peterli
1077 posts
top member
Feb 29, 2020 - 5:36 AM

The attached map shows the ten communes in Lombardia that were under lockdown as of February 29. These are Codogno, Casalpusterlengo, Castiglione d'Adda, Fombio, Maleo, Somaglia, Bertonico, Terranova dei Passerini, Castelgerundo, and Vo' Euganeo. All of these are located to the south-east of Milano between the cities of Lodi and Cremona. I have added a green oval around Tirano to show the distance between it and Milan and the above-mentioned communes.

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Anna
Anna
785 posts
top member &
moderator
Feb 29, 2020 - 7:03 AM in reply to Peterli

Thanks Peterli.

Peterli
Peterli
1077 posts
top member
Feb 29, 2020 - 6:44 PM

Here is an update concerning the canton of Berne from RJB: (Google translation from French).

The canton of Bern takes an even more drastic measure than the Confederation to fight against the coronavirus, it requests to cancel the demonstrations of less than 1000 people if a traceability is not possible.

Small events will also be affected by containment measures related to the coronavirus. Until Friday evening, only events involving more than 1,000 people were affected by a ban on assembly. At 7 p.m., the canton of Bern indicated in a press release that the measure was extended to demonstrations of less than 1,000 people if international participation could not be excluded. The measure is in effect until March 15 at least. The cantonal management body (OCCant) has taken the lead in coronavirus operations in the canton.

Not all gatherings are prohibited, but the canton requires guarantees. "Events of less than 1,000 people are still possible, provided that the organizers are able to prove that no participant has returned from a region affected by Covid-19 in the previous 14 days," say the authorities which further specify that the organizers "must also guarantee that the identity of the participants is known in order to be able to trace their contacts if necessary". The children's carnival in Moutier paid the price for this new measure. The organizers announced its cancellation late Friday evening.

Schools, on the other hand, will be able to resume lessons normally on Monday. If establishments were to close, the measure would be ordered by the cantonal doctor and communicated without delay.

The canton of Bern opened a hotline on Friday at 3 p.m. In particular, event organizers can find out about the situation and the conditions to be fulfilled (tel. 0800 634 634). All other information relating to the situation in the canton of Bern is gathered on this website

Vigneshlabam
Vigneshlabam
10 posts
new member
Mar 3, 2020 - 7:20 AM

Hi Arno,

Considering that the number of detected cases of people suffering from Corona virus has grown almost 3times in the last 2 days (15 to 42), is a trip from March 6 to March 15 still advisable? How are tourist activities like sight seeing and sports activities affected ? Is the general population taking extreme precautionary steps like wearing masks, working from home, cancelling appointments, etc?

gramels
gramels
33 posts
active member
Mar 3, 2020 - 7:41 AM

Life seems normal here in Zürich, where I live. I walked along the lake Sunday in nice weather, lot of people.

Mountain railways (such as Rigi Bahn) operate as normal.

Just more washing hands, less kissing and shaking hands for greeting.

Peterli
Peterli
1077 posts
top member
Mar 3, 2020 - 7:54 AM

Here is the latest information from Swissinfo: www.swissinfo.ch/eng/in-depth/coronavirus

Steph
Steph
2257 posts
top member &
moderator
Mar 3, 2020 - 9:10 AM in reply to Vigneshlabam

Hi Vigneshlabam,

As stated by gramels, life continues quite normally, at least from an every-day aspect. People try to avoid shaking hands as well as other physical contact to "strangers", use lots of desinfectant, wash their hands often, etc.

The tour operator I work for operates all the tours to all destinations as usual, providing desinfectant and face masks to whoever wants one.

The Swiss Federal government has for the time being (end of March currently) banned activities with more than 1'000 members, such as football and icehockey games, concerts, etc. to avoid masses spending too much time closely together, but for a "regular" tourist I don't think there's any restrictions so far.

I think with an overall caution of having a virus around you will be fine.

Hope this provides some input.

Keep an eye on the links provided in this thread to follow official information.

Best,
Steph

Peterli
Peterli
1077 posts
top member
Mar 3, 2020 - 1:53 PM

Here is part of a newer update from Swissinfo, posted this afternoon (March 3).

Switzerland is one of the 20 countries most affected by the coronavirus worldwide, with 46 current active cases, but no deaths. Here is an overview of the situation and official response.

What is the current situation in Switzerland?

Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the government has categorised the situation in the country as “special”, under the terms of the Epidemics Act. This allows the authorities to take over certain powers from the 26 cantons and to order measures, including bans on events. The application of these legal provisions is a first for Switzerland. Specifically, the government has banned all major events with more than 1,000 people until at least March 15, 2020. Some of the cancelled events include the Geneva International Motor Show, the Baselworld watch fair,and the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva. All top-flight Swiss soccer and ice-hockey games have also been called off.

Is it possible to become infected with the new coronavirus in Switzerland?

The risk of contracting the new coronavirus in Switzerland is currently moderate, according to the Federal Office for Public Health. In Switzerland, 46 infections were confirmed by federal and cantonal health authorities by March 3, 2020 (it was 47, but one person recovered). This puts Switzerland among the 20 countries most affected by Covid-19 globally, though no deaths have been recorded. The current figures from around the world can be found here. Advice regarding hankies and handshakes was published in all major newspapers.

What do you need to consider when travelling and staying in Switzerland?

The World Health Organization (WHO) has not yet imposed any travel restrictions. It is advisable to check when traveling to events to see if they are still taking place, as major events have been banned and cantons and cities can also ban smaller events. No special measures are currently planned for schools, day-care centres, homes and other educational or care institutions. The government has ruled out closing the borders for the time being. Swiss International Airlines has reduced the number of flights to areas with a particular risk of infection.

In the face of the coronavirus outbreak, SWISS International Airlines has extended its flight suspension to China and added Iran and Italy to the list of countries with no or limited service.

Link to the update: www.swissinfo.ch/eng/covid-19_coronavirus--the-situation-in-switzerland/45592192

Last modified on Mar 3, 2020 - 1:56 PM by Peterli
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