CORONAVIRUS cases in Switzerland are continuing to soar, with nearly 3000 people testing positive and 21 deaths caused by the virus until today.
As large gatherings are banned, here is all the essential advice you need to know if traveling to the country.
1 – Is it safe to travel to Switzerland?
There are currently no travel restrictions for entry into Switzerland, although large gatherings and events have been banned until mid-March.
The latest advice from the UK government states: “There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19). The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China, but cases have been confirmed in other parts of China and in some other countries, including Switzerland.
“You should comply with any additional screening measures put in place by the cantonal authorities.
“On 28 February, the government of Switzerland introduced a ban on large-scale events in all cantons of Switzerland involving more than 1000 people, until at least 15 March 2020.”
Other major events including the Geneva International Exhibition of Inventions and the Geneva International Motor Show have been either rescheduled or canceled.
The situation in the country has been categorized as “special” in accordance with the Epidemics Act, allowing authorities to take over certain powers from the country’s 26 cantons, or states.
In addition, travelers are being provided with advice and information at the country’s borders and airports.
2 – Can I cancel my holiday in Switzerland?
If you are flying to Switzerland in the next few days, then your flights will remain unaffected.
However, you are advised to keep up to date with the latest travel advice as it is likely to change at short notice.
Concerned passengers can contact their airline to find out whether they can change their flights if concerned, but they are unlikely to offer refunds or free changes.
The only time that tour operators are required to give a refund on holiday packages is if the Foreign Office changes its travel advice for a region and turns it into a no-go area, which they have not done in this case.
Independent hotels are not even required to refund money in this instance, so if you have paid in advance and choose not to turn up then you will lose your money.
If the hotel is a large chain, it could be worth asking to change your stay to another location or delay your trip but they are under no obligation to grant this.
Holidaymakers are advised to check with their travel insurance providers to see if there is something they can do, but that is also unlikely
Officials have advised not canceling your holiday abroad – if you are concerned about your trip, then we explain how you can cancel it.
If you need to cancel your holiday but there are no coronavirus warnings or travel restrictions, you will be left out of pocket as neither the airline or travel insurer will cover for this.
ABTA has advised: “If you have concerns about your summer holiday, it is too early to say that your holiday can’t go ahead as planned.
“Therefore, customers with future departure dates will need to wait to find out whether the advice changes and their holiday can continue as planned. If you cancel early you may have to pay cancellation charges.”
However, if you’re traveling soon to one of the areas the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against then you’re likely to be able to cancel and get your money back from your travel provider.
You could also get a refund if you have a pre-existing medical condition or illness – the Association of British Insurers (ABI) explains that most of its members will cover trips if you have to cancel because of a pre-existing condition that’s declared on your insurance.