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HEALTH

Will France be placed on Switzerland’s coronavirus quarantine list?

According to projections from the University of Geneva, arrivals from France may have to quarantine on arrival in Switzerland in the coming days.

Will France be placed on Switzerland’s coronavirus quarantine list?
This photograph taken on April 17, 2020, shows concrete blocks closing the border adorned with graffiti reading 'Our fate depends on your choice' and 'Stay home'. Photo: AFP

France’s infection rates have almost doubled in the previous week. 

The University of Geneva set up a forecasting model which predicts that the infection rate will continue to rise in the coming weeks, eventually crossing the Swiss government's quarantine threshold. 

They now stand at 43 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants – just shy of Switzerland’s quarantine threshold of 60 per 100,000. 

As of August 21st, there are more than 50 countries with an infection rate above Switzerland’s threshold of ‘high risk’. 

UPDATED: Who can enter Switzerland right now? 

With the situation in France escalating, there is the chance the government will impose a mandatory quarantine of ten days on all arrivals – which would create significant problems due to the economic and social connections of the countries. 

An estimated 180,000 residents of France cross the border daily into Switzerland to work, with the majority working in Geneva, Vaud and Basel City. 

The government has not yet indicated whether it would require cross-border workers to quarantine, however special concessions have been made for cross-border workers since the start of the pandemic

Tens of thousands of Swiss also cross the border into France to go shopping, with a quarantine meaning that anyone who entered France – even if just for the purposes of shopping – would be required to quarantine for ten days upon their return. 

UPDATED: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's new quarantine requirement 

A representative of the Department of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs told Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes that “shopping in France would not be possible” if a quarantine came into place. 

Other countries including the Netherlands, Libya, Lebanon and Paraguay are also approaching Switzerland’s quarantine threshold. 

While the government said the list would be updated monthly when it was first implemented, however so far updates have been made immediately as a country crosses the threshold. 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Driving in France: Motorway tolls rise from February 1st

The cost of using France’s motorway network rose by a below-inflation average of 4.75 percent on Wednesday, February 1st.

Driving in France: Motorway tolls rise from February 1st

Going through the toll booths on France’s motorway network now costs more – though the average 4.75 percent increase remains below inflation, and is lower than the price rise of between 7 percent and 8 percent predicted last September after Transport Minister Clément Beaune called for “reasonable increases”.

“We are well below the reference inflation rate of 6.33 percent,” Vinci Autoroutes, which manages nearly half of the French network, said in a statement.

Even so, motorists may not appreciate the motorway companies’ efforts to ease the effects of the cost of living crisis, as prices rise unevenly across the board.

A journey from Toulon, in the Var, to Mandelieu, in Alpes-Maritimes (113km) now costs €13 in tolls, up from €12.10 in 2022 – an increase of 7.4 percent.

Drivers heading between Lyon and Montpellier now have to pay an extra €1.90 to make their journey, up 6.7 percent on last year’s prices; and motorists will have to pay an additional €2.10 to make the five-hour journey along the A4 between Paris and Strasbourg.

In recent years, the annual rate of the annual increases has been lower. Tolls went up 2 percent on average last year, and just 0.44 percent in 2021. The annual increases are based on a formula that takes into account the rate of inflation and the amount of maintenance work undertaken, which is written into the motorway operators’ contracts with the government.

For home-work trips, Vinci Autoroutes has frozen the prices of 70 percent of trips of less than 30 km, as well as “half of trips of less than 50km and the bypass routes of 35 towns”.

The stretches between Aubagne and Cassis (Bouches-du-Rhône) on the A50, between Villefranche-de-Lauragais and Toulouse sud (Haute-Garonne) on the A61, and between Orléans nord and Olivet (Loiret) on the A10, for example, will see no price increase.

Subscribers to the Ulys 30 electronic toll system, meanwhile, now receive 40 percent concessions, compared to 30 percent previously on their regular commuter route.

According to Vinci, for every €10 in tolls, €4 is then paid to the government in taxes; €3.50 covers maintenance, modernisation and operating costs; and the remainder repays investors and services debts.

However, motorway operators are regularly singled out for the scale of their profits, recorded at €3.9 billion in 2021, 11 percent more than in 2019. 

If you’re driving in French towns and cities, remember that you may need a Crit’Air sticker – full details HERE.

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