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Switzerland VTL: Pre-departure PCR test and Day 4 test now required for Singapore travellers

If you're heading to Switzerland on the VTL, you'll now need a pre-departure PCR test with immediate effect, plus a post-arrival PCR/ART test if you're staying more than four days.

Hardly days (or a few hours) seem to go by lately without another of Singapore’s Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) countries imposing additional entry restrictions due to the Omicron variant. This time its Switzerland, becoming the 17th VTL country to impose a pre-departure requirement for travellers.

In this case it’s one of the more significant conditions – a PCR test within 72 hours of departure in order to enter the country (Antigen / ART not accepted).

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Additionally, travellers must be fully vaccinated and will also be obliged to undergo a post-arrival test on Day 4 to Day 7.

In order to continue to prevent the new Omicron variant from entering the country as far as possible, a stricter testing regime will now apply for all arrivals into Switzerland. This testing requirement also applies to those who have been vaccinated or have recovered from the disease. In addition to taking a PCR test before travelling, a second test (PCR test or rapid antigen test) must be carried out between the fourth and seventh day after arrival. This test ensures that infected persons who have contracted the virus shortly before or during travel are detected.

Test costs must be borne by the traveller.

Federal Office of Public Health

The announcement was part of a wider tightening of restrictions in Switzerland by its Federal Council in an effort to ease pressure on the country’s hospitals, due to the spread of the Delta variant, but also in light of Omicron concerns.

Switzerland new entry requirements

With effect from 4th December 2021, all travellers:

  • Must be fully vaccinated with one of these vaccines.
  • Must present a completed entry form.
  • Must be able to show the negative result of a PCR test performed no more than 72 hours prior to departure (see the cheapest options in Singapore here). If you cannot show such a test, you will not be allowed to board the aircraft.
  • Rapid Anitgen tests are not accepted.
  • Children aged 15 or younger are exempt from the pre-departure test requirement.
  • Transit passengers who are flying to Switzerland then on to a third country (international onward flight) on the same day without leaving the airport are exempt from the pre-departure test, but must still complete the entry form.

Additionally, if your stay in Switzerland is more than four days:

  • You must take another PCR test or rapid antigen test (ART) between the 4th and 7th day after entry.
  • The test result and the number of the entry form or a copy of the contact card must be notified to the cantonal authority (list available here).
  • Children aged 15 or younger are exempt from the post-arrival test requirement.

Since 4th December 2021, there are currently no quarantine requirements for those entering Switzerland.

Testing costs in Singapore

If you require a pre-departure PCR test in Singapore before embarking on a trip with Switzerland, here’s our latest rundown of the cheapest locations to get a test suitable for travel.

Remember, ART tests are not valid for travel to Switzerland at the time of writing – it must be a PCR test.

Based on our recent analysis, pre-departure test costs in Singapore are around:

  • PCR: S$107 (cheapest) – S$149 (average)
  • Home PCR: S$138 (cheapest) – S$193 (average)

Rapid turnaround tests (6-8 hours) cost from S$280 – S$300 each, which may be required by some travellers due to the short-term nature of this change (new requirements have already taken effect).

Other VTL countries requiring pre-departure testing

Switzerland isn’t the only VTL country requiring a pre-departure test for fully vaccinated Singapore residents.

You’ll also be subject to testing requirements when travelling to the following countries, in addition to VTL testing on your return:

Testing before travelling to selected VTL countries

VTL country Test type Test timing Exemptions
Australia PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
Brunei PCR 48h before departure
or
72h before departure (Singapore RGL)
Cambodia PCR 72h before arrival
Canada PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
Denmark PCR
or
ART
PCR 72h before arrival
or
ART 48h before arrival
Age 14 or below
or
Danish Residents
Fiji PCR 3 days* before departure Age 11 or below
Finland PCR
or
ART
48h before arrival Age 15 or below
or
Finnish Citizens / PRs
France PCR
or
ART
48h before departure Age 11 or below
India PCR 72h before departure Age 4 or below
Indonesia PCR 72h before departure
Italy PCR
or
ART
PCR 72h before arrival
or
ART 24h before arrival
Age 5 or below
Malaysia PCR 2 days before departure Age 2 or below
Maldives PCR 96h before departure Age below 1
Netherlands PCR
or
ART
PCR 48h before departure
or
ART 24h before departure
Age 11 or below
South Korea PCR 48h before departure Age 5 or below
Sri Lanka PCR 72h before departure Age 1 or below
Sweden PCR
or
ART
48h before arrival Age 11 or below
Switzerland PCR
or
ART
PCR 72h before departure
or
ART 24h before departure
Age 15 or below
Thailand PCR 72h before departure Age 5 or below
USA PCR
or
ART
1 day before departure Age 1 or below

* Passengers arriving in Fiji from the UK or USA must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 1 day of departure of the first flight or series of flights booked on the same itinerary.

VTL flights Zurich – Singapore

Here’s a list of the VTL (and non-VTL) flights from Zurich to Singapore, which you’ll need to use on your return journey to benefit from quarantine-free arrival in Singapore, assuming you are also returning from Switzerland (click to expand):

8th November 2021 - 26th March 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ345
A350-900
ZRH
10:35
SIN

06:00*
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Swissair-small-1.png LX176
A340-300
         
ZRH
13:10
SIN

08:30*

* Next day

During the month of December, LX176 will depart Zurich at 14:00 and arrive in Singapore at 09:30(+1).

27th March 2022 - 29th October 2022

  Days
M T W T F S S
 bgcolor= SQ345
777-300ER
ZRH
11:55
SIN

05:55*

* Next day

Zurich Singapore
Non-VTL

  • LX176 (Tue) is not a designated VTL flight.
  • Swiss VTL flights from 27th March 2022 are to be confirmed.

  Full list of all VTL Flights

VTL testing to Singapore has also been beefed up

On your return from Switzerland (or any VTL country), you’ll now face the usual on-arrival PCR test at Changi Airport plus six additional COVID-19 ART tests on Days 2 to 7 after your arrival day (Day 1).

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These take the form of either self-declared home ART swabs (Days 2, 4, 5 & 6) or a supervised self-administered ART test at one of over 40 Quick Test Centres (QTCs) / Combined Test Centres (CTCs) on Day 3 and Day 7.

We recently outlined full details for these tests, with the latest regime effective for arrivals from 7th December 2021.

Total testing costs

In addition to the new pre-departure test requirement, there are now ten COVID-19 tests on a roundtrip from Singapore to Switzerland.

Here’s how the approximate total testing costs for the journey now look.

🇨🇭 VTL
Singapore Switzerland
Estimated Testing Costs 

Test Cost
Singapore pre-departure (PCR)* S$107 – S$200
Switzerland Day 4-7 (ART) ~S$70
Switzerland pre-departure (ART)* ~S$70
Singapore arrival (PCR) S$125
Day 2 S$7
Day 3 S$15
Day 4 S$7
Day 5 S$7
Day 6 S$7
Day 7 S$15
Total S$430 – S$523

* Prices vary between providers and locations.

With relatively high testing costs in Switzerland, even for ART tests, you’re now looking at around S$430 to S$520 per traveller in addition to flight and hotel expenses, for a trip like this.



 


 

Summary

Switzerland becomes the 17th country on Singapore’s VTL list requiring pre-departure testing for those travelling from Singapore, even if you’re fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

There’s also an additional ART or PCR test between the 4th and 7th day after arrival, for those staying more than four days in the country, which doesn’t come cheap in Switzerland at around S$70 (ART) per person.

VTL test requirements seem to be growing by the day, both overseas and back in Singapore on your return, with a Switzerland trip now coming in at S$430+ in testing costs alone per traveller.

Stay tuned for future testing requirement updates, including via our Telegram Channel and Instagram page, where the details often break first.

(Cover Photo: Alin Andersen)

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3 comments

  1. You are a lifesaver sir! Flying to Zurich tonight at 1.30am. Called SQ after seeing your article this morning they know NOTHING about this. Useless.

    Now they finally called me back and said yes I need to try and get 2x PCR in time for me and my wife, what’s your provider recommendation? I know it’s gonna be $$$

  2. Some of the information here is INCORRECT. ‘With effect from 4th December 2021, all travellers:

    Must be fully vaccinated with one of these vaccines.’

    I read this and almost had a heart attack as I am not vaccinated and thought an very important trip I have to take to Switzerland was suddenly not possible for me.

    After reviewing on the government website for switzerland plus my airline’s constantly updated information, it is not required for travelers to be fully vaccinated.

    PLEASE check your information and share it correctly in the future. When I read that, I almost had a heart attack and was freaking out for nothing because of this articles lack in clear information!

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