22 December 2020
What is the situation with Covid-19 in Switzerland?
From 25 June, the SwissCovid app will also be available, a contact tracing app that will continue to support the existing contact tracing measures. The download is voluntary, but recommended. Information on data protection can be found on the website of the Federal Office of Public Health.
From 6 July 2020 masks will be compulsory on public transport throughout Switzerland. This applies to trains, buses, ships, mountain railways and all other means of public transport. From 15 August there will also be a compulsory mask on aircrafts.
In addition, from 6 July 2020, all persons entering Switzerland from a country or area with a high risk of infection must go into quarantine for ten days. The list of these countries and further information can be found here. More information on quarantine can be found below.
From 2 November onwards, universities must switch to distance learning. Presence teaching remains permitted in compulsory schools and secondary level 2.
The Swiss Federal Council resolved further measures. The measures apply from 12 December 2020 and are limited until 22 January 2021.
- Restaurants to close: Restaurants and bars will be required to close. No exceptions will be made for the festive period. There will however be exceptions for work canteens, school canteens in primary and lower secondary schools, and meals for hotel guests. Takeaways and delivery services may remain open.
- Sports facilities to close: Sports facilities will be closed. Outdoor sports in groups of up to five people continue to be permitted. Professional matches may continue to be played behind closed doors. Sports and cultural activities for children and young persons under the age of 16 are permitted, with the exception of competitive events.
- Cultural and leisure venues to close: Museums, cinemas, reading rooms of libraries and archives, botanical gardens, zoos, and other cultural and leisure venues will be closed. Cultural activities remain possible in small groups. Events with an audience, however, are still prohibited. Alternative forms of event, such as events broadcast online, are permitted.
- Further restrictions on capacity of shops: The number of persons who may be in a shop at any given time will be further restricted. The maximum number depends on the floor space available. Strict precautionary measures will continue to apply in all shops. Restrictions on opening hours continue to apply: shops must remain closed between 7pm and 6am, and on Sundays and public holidays.
- Recommendation - Stay at home: People are urged to stay at home. They should keep social contacts to a minimum and refrain from making unnecessary journeys or excursions.
- Extended use of rapid tests: from 21 December 2020: extended use of rapid tests outside the FOPH testing strategy. For more information, see the Testing page.
Furthermore, the following applies (not an exhaustive list):
- A mask must be worn in indoor public areas.
- Masks are also compulsory in all railway stations, airports and at bus and tram stops.
In addition, the wearing of masks is mandatory throughout Switzerland in:
- outdoor areas of facilities and businesses such as shops, restaurants, bars or markets etc.
- In busy pedestrian areas and wherever the required distance cannot be maintained in public spaces.
- In schools from secondary level 2
- At the workplace, unless the distance between workplaces can be maintained.
In the current climate of change, the situation can change rapidly. Information on cantonal measures can be found on the website of the respective canton. www.ch.ch.
Personal responsibility remains important: Washing your hands regularly with soap and water and keeping your distance are still the best ways of preventing infection. Continue to observe the rules on hygiene and social distancing as the coronavirus should not be allowed to spread again.
Please be aware that the situation on COVID-19 and its restrictions can change very frequently. Therefore, the most accurate information you receive from the official links that we quote in this FAQ Section.
Source: website FOPH
Do the lessons take place online at the moment ?
Attendance-based formats are now only allowed if a specific infrastructure is required for the students to successfully complete their semester and/or degree programme. For more information, contact the responsible person in your school.
I am unsure whether it is a good idea to travel in the spring semester, but still wish to come to Lucerne. What are my options?
In any case, we recommend that you take out travel or cancellation insurance. Furthermore, you may have the possibility to postpone your stay until autumn 2021 (even if you have already been accepted for the spring semester). Most important is that you get in touch with us as soon as possible to find the best solution for you.
Entry restrictions Switzerland
In Switzerland there is a quarantine obligation for people entering the country from certain countries and territories. Persons who have stayed in a state or area with an increased risk of infection and then enter Switzerland must be placed in quarantine. The states and areas affected are defined on a list. This list is regularly updated in the light of the epidemiological situation.
The list which is valid at the time of entry into Switzerland is decisive for the quarantine obligation.
Since 15 June / 20 July 2020 all Schengen and EU countries, small European states and some third countries are no longer considered high-risk countries (see list of countries on the SEM website). Corona-related border controls were lifted at all land and air borders between Switzerland and the Schengen states. This means that normal entry requirements now apply again.
For all other third-country citizens travelling directly from a high-risk country, it is still not possible to enter Switzerland, for example for a holiday, visit or other reason; entry from a high-risk country for stays of less than 90 days that do not require authorisation is still only permitted in cases of special necessity.
You can find more information on the website of the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).
Questions and answers on entry and stay in Switzerland, the exceptions and suspension of visas
Source: State secretariat for Migration SEM
Visa situation in Switzerland
From now on, Schengen visas and national visas for third countries (>90 days) will again be issued to students.
Source: Website State Secretariat for Migration SEM
I am unable to take an English test to prove my English level because all the testing facilities are closed. What shall I do?
A possible solution might be a letter of your home university confirming your English level. Please check that option with the international offices of your home and host school.
What if I cannot travel for the start of my course?
If you expect travel restrictions, please contact the International Office of your host school.
I am traveling from a state or area with a high risk of infection, do I have to go into quarantine?
Yes, since 6 July 2020, all persons who have stayed in a state or area within the last 14 days where there is an increased risk of infection, are required to go into quarantine for ten days. The list of these countries can be found here.
Please note: Anyone who evades quarantine or fails to comply with the duty to report to the authorities is committing an offence under the Epidemics Act, which is punishable by a fine of up to CHF 10’000. The exact regulations on quarantine can be found on the FOPH's website.
I was on holiday in a country or region where there is an increased risk for infection, do I have to go into quarantine too?
Yes, if you returned to Switzerland afterwards, you must also be quarantined. The important thing is that you have spent time in a country or area with an increased risk of infection in the past 14 days. The list of these countries can be found here.
I have to go into quarantine. What do I have to watch out for?
- Upon arrival, go immediately to your home or to other suitable accommodation (e.g. a hotel or holiday apartment). On the way there, keep a minimum distance of 1.5 metres from other people. If you are unable to maintain this distance, we recommend that you wear a mask. Avoid public transport if possible.
- Report your arrival to the cantonal authority responsible within two days. Follow the instructions of the cantonal authority.
- For 10 days after your arrival in Switzerland you must stay in your home or other suitable accommodation without going out. Avoid contact with other people and follow the “instructions on quarantine”. You will find the document on this website under “What to do after entering”.
Source: Website of the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
I have symptoms of Covid-19, but i do not have a family doctor in Switzerland. What should I do?
Go directly into self-isolation (stay at home and avoid contact with others). You can find instructions on how to deal with symptoms of the disease on the FOPH website here. Follow the instructions.
If a test is recommended:
Call the cantonal Hospital (+41 41 205 11 11) to make an appointment for a Covid 19 test. Registration by telephone is mandatory.
Alternatively, you can also have a test at Permanence Med Center in Lucerne train station. Please call there in advance (+41 41 211 14 44) to discuss the further procedure.
Provided the FOPH’s criteria for testing are met, the costs of the test will be paid by the federal government.
What do I need to do if I have tested positive for Covid-19?
Students in education or continuing and executive education programmes, employees as well as visitors are prohibited from entering the premises of the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, if
- they have been tested positive for COVID-19.
- they experience typical COVID-19 symptoms
- they have had close contact with an infected person (less than 1.5 metres for more than 15 minutes without mask).
If tested positive, students are expected to report it to their head of programme immediately and also provide information about persons they have been in close contact with (at a distance of less than 1.5 metres and for at least 15 minutes without appropriate protection such as a partition or face mask).
The Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts will then share the information with the canton’s contact tracing office, thus supporting the public authorities’ contact tracing efforts. The goal is to break the chain of transmission as quickly as possible. With these measures, the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts complies with the Canton of Lucerne‘s framework of precautionary measures of October 2020.
Students can find more information about the procedure in case of a (suspected) infection with COVID-19 HERE
I will soon be travelling to Switzerland and I'm insecure. Where can I contact you if I have any questions?
There is a hotline from the Federal Office of Public Health for people entering Switzerland: +41 58 464 44 88 (6am-23pm). For specific questions concerning the university, contact the International Office via email@example.com or the contact person at your school.
What happens if I get infected with the COVID-19 at the time of the semester start in Lucerne?
Please get in contact with your home and host coordinator to discuss the situation. If you contract the virus, please stay at home until you have recovered. Your stay in Lucerne might be postponed to the following semester.