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EU gives green light for Swiss Covid certificate

Good to go: the Swiss version of the Covid certificate. Keystone / Laurent Gillieron

From Friday July 9, the Swiss Covid Certificate will be valid in EU countries, Iceland and Norway.

This content was published on July 8, 2021 - 13:25
Keystone-SDA/dos

On Thursday, the EU Commission confirmed that the Swiss certificate – which shows if the holder has been vaccinated, tested, or recovered from Covid-19 – will be recognised as equivalent to the Europe-wide certificate, which has been in effect since July 1.

Switzerland is the first country outside the EU and the EEA to become part of the European travel area, the Commission said.

Theoretically, Swiss travellers will now be able to move around Europe without having to undergo further testing or quarantine regimes in the place they visit. EU travellers to Switzerland will also find life easier.

“This will let EU and Swiss citizens travel more freely, and in full security this summer,” wrote EU Commissioner Didier Reynders on Thursday.

Varying rules

In practice, however, different rules and conditions still exist in different countries.

For example, there is no standardised definition of how long a PCR test remains valid and there is no agreement on how soon after a second vaccination dose a person becomes “safe”, or how long a vaccine’s protection lasts. Some EU states also haven’t yet set up the necessary infrastructure to introduce the certificate and are still in a “transition phase”.

EU countries also retain the right to restrict travellers from regions they deem to be “risk zones” owing to higher rates of coronavirus infections, or a higher prevalence of more contagious strains, like the Delta variant.

And beyond travel, once you get into the other countries, there are different attitudes to whether or not the Covid certificate is needed to get into restaurants, concerts, or large gatherings.

In Switzerland, for example, while the certificate will be required for events of over 10,000 people, for smaller concerts it’s left to the discretion of the organiser.

More information for planning travel around Europe can be found on the official European Union website https://reopen.europe.euExternal link.

In Switzerland, over 3.5 million vaccinated people have already received a Covid certificate. Some 88,000 got one after having recovered from the disease.

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