Switzerland expands COVID-19 quarantine watchlist

FILE PHOTO: Passengers are seen in a terminal, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, at the airport in Zurich, Switzerland July 14, 2020. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland has expanded to 42 the number of territories on its watchlist of coronavirus hot spots, new arrivals from which must enter a ten-day quarantine, health authorities said on Wednesday.

New entries as of Thursday include Bosnia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Eswatini, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Maldives, Mexico, Montenegro, the Palestinian territories, Suriname and the United Arab Emirates.

The authorities removed Belarus and Sweden from the list here.

Since July 6 people entering Switzerland from a country with an increased risk of infection have been legally mandated to go into quarantine or face a 10,000 Swiss franc ($10,724) fine.

Swiss health authorities have reported here more than 33,800 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and nearly 1,700 deaths from the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Switzerland last month phased out most of the restrictions it imposed to contain the spread of the virus, declaring the country better equipped to handle any fresh flare-ups.

New cases have dwindled to dozens a day, allowing schools, shops and borders with fellow members of the Schengen passport-free travel zone to reopen as life returns to near-normal.

Passengers on public transport however still have to don facemasks.

Reporting by Michael Shields; Editing by Jan Harvey