Switzerland to lift all COVID travel restrictions in early May

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The Swiss State Secretariat for Migration announced last week that from May 2, all covid-related entry restrictions will be lifted.

However, today on its website, the Federal Office of Public Health states:

“You can enter Switzerland without any other pandemic-related measures.”

Looks like the door is already open

Edelweiss will look to the future with confidence now that entry restrictions to Switzerland have disappeared. Photo: Getty Images

So whether from May 1 or already underway, unrestricted entry into Switzerland is great news.

The main airports of Zurich, Geneva and Bern are eagerly preparing for a busy summer, as are the carriers that regularly serve the country. Airlines such as Lufthansa, SWISS International Air Lines, Emirates, Edelweiss and Austrian Airlines can start planning their operations with confidence.

SWISS International Air Lines (SWISS) has announced its summer schedule, serving 119 destinations from Geneva and Zurich. It plans to restore around 80% of its 2019 services before the end of this year.

Planespotters.net shows that SWISS has 90 planes in its fleet. It contains 30 Airbus A220, 29 Airbus A320 family, 14 Airbus A330 and 5 Airbus A340. It also has 12 Boeing B777-300ERs in its fleet.

Focusing on the US market, SWISS is adding additional flights to New York JFK, Boston and Chicago. It restores services to Delhi and Mumbai, Beirut and continues Zurich-Buenos Aries service via São Paulo.

Prior to the easing of entry restrictions, travelers to Switzerland had to hold a valid vaccination or recovery certificate to have unrestricted entry. Based on the advice of the Federal Office of Public Health, they no longer have to meet this requirement.

Entry requirements revert to what applied before the pandemic. In most cases, this means having a valid passport or visa if this requirement applies to the traveler.

According to SchengenVisaInfo, the easing of restrictions is due to the drop in COVID infections and high vaccination rates in Switzerland. The World Health Organization reports 14,500 new cases of COVID-19 infection in Switzerland in the seven days preceding the announcement.

The Federal Office of Public Health says Switzerland has administered 15.7 million doses of vaccines as of April 19. This brings primary vaccinations to 69% of the population, while secondary vaccinations have been administered to 43%.

With vaccination rates moderate, it will be interesting to see how relaxed entry rules, summer holiday tourism and more open social settings impact the number of COVID cases in Switzerland.

SWISS will turn to its 30 A220s as it rebuilds its European network for the remainder of 2022. Photo: Getty Images.

Greece is the word for good news

SchengenVisInfo also reports that, similar to Switzerland, Greece will also drop its entry restrictions on May 2. Greek Health Minister Thanos Plevris said earlier this month that his country would no longer apply entry rules to inbound travelers from May. 2.

The Minister of Health explained that all travellers, regardless of their country of origin, will be exempt from the requirement to present a COVID Pass, such as a vaccination, recovery or test certificate, upon arrival in Greece.

Countries across Europe are in a race not to miss out on the predicted summer tourism boom. Governments are opening borders and easing COVID protocols, certainly in an effort to revive their vital tourism sectors.

One can only hope that airlines, airports and the hospitality industry will have their A-game ready when the hordes descend in June.

After what we saw at Easter, what are the chances of them being on top by then?

Source: SchengenVisaInfo.com, Planespotters.net

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