Switzerland is allowing rapid antigen tests as well as PCR tests as proof of Covid status for those fully vaccinated from Monday (December 20).
The country’s Federal Council agreed to adapt the testing regime on December 17. It comes a day after fellow ski destination France opted to ban UK visitors without a “compelling reason” from entering.
While PCR tests can be taken within the previous 72 hours of entry, rapid antigen tests must be taken within the previous 24 hours for visitors to Switzerland.
The requirement to take a second test four-seven days after entering the country will be waived for those who are vaccinated or have recovered from COVID-19.
Before this change, only PCR tests were accepted, although children under the age of 16 are exempt from testing. Switzerland accepts the NHS Covid Pass as proof of vaccination.
Stricter measures within Switzerland will also be introduced on Monday, December 20.
Only people who have been vaccinated or have recovered from Covid-19 will be able to go inside restaurants, cultural, sporting and leisure venues and attend indoor events.
Masks must also be worn in these settings and food and drink may only be consumed while seated.
In settings where masks cannot be worn, “such as brass band practice”, or where it is not possible to eat or drink while seated, “such as at bars and discos”, admission will be limited to vaccinated or recovered people who also present a negative test result.
People who within the last four months have been fully vaccinated received a booster jab or recovered from Covid-19 do not have to take a further test.
Switzerland has also reintroduced a requirement to work from home.
Private gatherings are limited to 10 people if one person from the age of 16 is present who is unvaccinated or has not previously had Covid-19.
In a statement, the Federal Council said “the epidemiological situation is extremely worrying” and that “the critical threshold of 300 Covid-19 patients in ICUs throughout Switzerland was exceeded for the first time” on December 13.