Stranded Swiss to be brought back home from South America

Edelweiss will bring back tourists strapped in South America. © Keystone / Walter Bieri

Two charter flights have been arranged to repatriate some 630 Swiss citizens trapped in Peru and Colombia by coronavirus restrictions. The Swiss foreign ministry has urged the estimated tens of thousands of Swiss travelers still abroad to get in contact via a special app.

This content was published on March 21, 2020 - 10:52

Two planes have been chartered from Edelweiss, part of Swiss International Air Lines, to fly to Lima and Bogota on Tuesday and Wednesday next week. Arrangements are also being made for 100 citizens to be brought back from Costa Rica.

“Over the last few days, the FDFA [foreign ministry], together with tour operators and travel associations, has been intensively searching for ways to reach blocked tourists in order to bring them back to Switzerland. Thanks to the proven collaboration with SWISS and Edelweiss, an initial solution has been found for Latin America,” read a statementExternal link.

The government has pre-financed the flights but passengers will have to pay for their individual tickets, bearing part of the costs.

The foreign ministry has sent out an appeal for all Swiss travelers to get in contact via its Travel Admin AppExternal link. Only 7,710 of the “several tens of thousands” of Swiss tourists abroad have so far submitted their name, contact number and place of stay.

“This is the only way we can get a good picture of the situation in the world,” said Swiss foreign minister Ignazio Cassis. “This will enable support to be provided more quickly and in a more targeted manner.” People using the app are also urged to cancel their registrations once they return home.

Over the last weeks, Switzerland has cooperated with other countries, such as France and Germany, to repatriate citizens trapped abroad by the pandemic. Further flights are being planned.

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