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HomeIndiaSwitzerland reopens its doors to fully vaccinated Indians with WHO-approved doses

Switzerland reopens its doors to fully vaccinated Indians with WHO-approved doses

Switzerland's Federal Office of Public Health said there is no need for a negative RT-PCR report from countries that have the Delta variant of Covid-19.

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New Delhi: Switzerland has become the first country to officially reopen its doors to Indians who have been fully vaccinated.

“The Embassy of Switzerland in New Delhi is currently accepting all visa categories for persons arriving from third countries like India who can prove they have been fully vaccinated,” the website for the Swiss Embassy in India said.

The embassy said visa applications are being accepted at centres in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin and Hyderabad.

On travel from Switzerland to other Schengen countries, the embassy said that it may be restricted. While India features on the Swiss list of high-risk countries, Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health has declared there is no need for a negative RT-PCR report from countries that have the Delta variant of Covid-19 (India and the UK).

“The vaccines used in Switzerland are only slightly less effective against the Delta variant and thus still offer a very high level of protection,” Singapore’s Federal Office said.

However, the Indian government has extended the ban on scheduled international flights, leaving air bubbles as the only option. Currently, India has an air bubble arrangement with 28 countries including Afghanistan, Bahrain, Canada, France, Germany, Iraq, Japan, the Maldives, Nigeria, Qatar, the UAE, the UK and the United States. Switzerland is yet to be added to this list.

EU/WHO-recognised vaccines

The Swiss Federal Council also said that travellers who are not fully vaccinated with Current Health Expenditure (CHE), European Union (EU) and World Health Organization (WHO) recognised vaccines cannot enter the country. This means that Indians who have received Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin or have been administered only a single dose of Covishield will not be allowed.

“For FULLY vaccinated third-country nationals with CHE, EU and WHO recognized vaccines, the regular entry requirements will be applicable again from June 26, 2021. This also means that these travelers no longer have to be quarantined after arriving in Switzerland,” the website added.

Most recently, the European Union stated that those who have received Covishield, the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine manufactured in India, will not be eligible for the Green Pass that allows free movement for work or tourism within the union.

Currently, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved four vaccines: Comirnaty (Pfizer/BioNTech), Moderna, Vaxzervria (AstraZeneca), Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).

According to the health ministry, India has administered a total of 32,90,29,510 doses till now, majority of which is the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) Covishield.

Also read: Mixing Astra and Pfizer shots creates strong immune response, Oxford study shows


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