The Swiss authorities have announced that since Monday, October 11, the country is no longer providing free coronavirus tests to those who have not been vaccinated against the disease.
This means that unvaccinated people who want to take a COVID-19 test to be eligible for a COVID-19 certificate in Switzerland will now have to pay for the test themselves, TheSchengen.com reports.
According to a press release issued by the Swiss Federal Council, such a decision has been taken since the number of people being tested for coronavirus has increased significantly over the past months and vaccination rates have remained low.
The number of tests performed during the colder months is expected to rise to one million, which would cost around €44 million per week if the government paid the sum. As for the vaccination rate, the country faces low coverage.
Although Switzerland no longer offers free tests, such a rule will not apply to everyone because several groups of people fall on the exemption list.
People with symptoms related to the COVID-19 disease will continue to have their tests covered by the Swiss authorities. In addition, free coronavirus tests will continue for those who cannot get vaccinated due to health-related issues, as well as for children under 16 years old.
Regardless, the Swiss Federal Council has announced that those who have received only one dose of the vaccine will still be able to benefit from a free COVID-19 test until the end of November.
“In light of the increase in the number of vaccinations, the Federal Council is proposing that the federal government continue, until the end of November, to cover the cost of the tests (rapid antigen tests and pooled PCR tests) for those who received the first dose of the vaccine, but do not have certification yet,” it said. In the statement of the Federal Council.
By continuing to offer free tests to people who have been partially vaccinated, the Swiss authorities want to ensure that everyone has enough time to decide whether or not they want to be vaccinated.
At the meeting, the Federal Council also decided that in addition to the existing testing programs in each canton, PCR tests should be coordinated at the national level from mid-October.
For the COVID-19 certificate, authorities have confirmed that anyone vaccinated with an EMA-approved vaccine will be able to apply for a COVID certificate issued by Switzerland.
Earlier in September, Switzerland made the COVID-19 passport mandatory for all people under 16, including tourists. This means that everyone must obtain a certificate of vaccination, recovery or testing in order to be allowed unrestricted entry into bars, restaurants and museums, among other things.
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