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Switzerland imposes 10-day quarantine on UK travellers, wrecking winter holiday plans

Switzerland has announced it will impose a 10-day quarantine on all arrivals from the UK in response to fears over the omicron coronavirus variant.

The country’s Federal Office of Public Health announced on Saturday that arrivals from the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Egypt and Malawi, as well as Britain, would need to present a negative Covid test and self-isolate on arrival.

“UPDATE - The UK has been added to Switzerland’s risk country list,” tweeted the Swiss embassy.

“When boarding a plane and entering Switzerland, all persons travelling from the UK must present a negative Covid-19 test and quarantine for 10 days.”

The news will be a blow to the hundreds of Brits planning ski holidays and winter breaks to the Swiss Alps this December.

Meanwhile, direct flights from South Africa and the surrounding region have been banned, and entry has been restricted to Swiss citizens and Schengen residents when travelling from there, plus Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium.

The new measures followed the detection of two omicron cases in England – one in Nottingham, one in Chelmsford.

Health secretary Sajid Javid said: “Thanks to our world class genomic sequencing we have been made aware of two UK cases of the omicron variant. We have moved rapidly and the individuals are self-isolating while contact tracing is ongoing.”

Countries around the world are closing borders and tightening restrictions in response to fears that the latest Covid variant could be more transmissible than previous iterations, with the ability to reduce the efficacy of current coronavirus vaccines.

Israel and Japan have both shut their doors on international travellers.

Spain has tightened entry rules, stating that only fully vaccinated Brits will be allowed in.

And the UK has added 10 African countries to its red list, as well as reimposing mandatory day two PCR tests for all travellers, including those who are double jabbed.

Arrivals must isolate until they receive a negative result.