Switzerland banned direct flights from southern Africa and imposed entry restrictions on people from other countries after a new variant of the Covid-19 virus was discovered. The first probable case of the Omicron variant was also detected in Switzerland.
This content was published on November 29, 2021 – 8:36 am
The Omicron variant (formerly known as B.1.1.529) triggers alarms worldwide because it has a greater number of mutations than other variants.
Late on Sunday evening, the government announced that the first likely case of the Omicron variant had been discovered in Switzerland. The case concerns a person who returned to Switzerland from South Africa about a week ago, said the Federal Office of Public Health on Twitter.
The Swiss authorities reacted quickly to news about the spread of the Omicron variant in various countries.
“All direct flights from the region of southern Africa are prohibited,” says a Swiss government Statement on Fridayexternal link. “When entering from the region of South Africa, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium [where cases have been detected], All people must also present a negative Covid-19 test from November 26, 2021 at 8 p.m. and be in quarantine for ten days.
“All flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa are forbidden for an indefinite period of time.” Special permits are issued for the repatriation of Swiss citizens or residents who are currently in these danger zones.
Switzerland’s response to flight bans for these countries mirrored that of the European Union on Friday. Other countries around the world are also imposing their own travel bans or restrictions on countries where Omicron outbreaks have occurred.
On November 27th at 8 p.m., the Swiss health authorities accepted the following countries into it List of countries with a questionable variantexternal link – Czech Republic, Egypt, Malawi, Netherlands and United Kingdom. On the website of the health department it says: “Anyone entering Switzerland from these countries must present a negative test result and go into quarantine for ten days. This also applies to vaccinated and recovered people ”.
On November 28, it added four more countries to its list of countries with the questionable Omicron variant: Angola, Australia, Denmark and Zambia.
Booster jabs extended
Also on Friday, the Swiss authorities recommended Covid 19 booster vaccinations for everyone over the age of 16 in view of the increasing number of infections.
Booster jabs have previously only been available for those age group 65+ or younger with underlying health issues.
The Federal Office of Public Health and the Federal Vaccination Commission issued a joint statementexternal link that boosters should cover a wider segment of the population.
This advice follows the approval of the drug supervisory authority Swissmedic to issue boosters to younger people. The Pfizer / BioNTech mRNA vaccine is approved for people aged 16 and over, while the Moderna vaccine can be used for people aged 18 and over.
Younger people are less at risk of seriously reacting to Covid-19, but are still able to spread the virus if they are infected, the statement said.
Around 350,000 people at risk have already received booster vaccinations.
The number of Covid 19 cases in Switzerland has increased significantly since mid-October. 8,032 new cases were reported on Friday, 50% more than early last week. The numbers double every two weeks.