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Swiss Residents Go to France for Cheaper COVID Tests

Swiss Residents Go to France for Cheaper COVID Tests

19 October 2021

There is new popular cross-border activity – Swiss residents go abroad, to France, to make cheaper COVID-19 tests, as these are no longer free in the country.There is new popular cross-border activity – Swiss residents go abroad, to France, to make cheaper COVID-19 tests, as these are no longer free in the country.

New Cross-border Activity

              Cross-border activities are popular among Swiss, French, German and Italian citizens living close to border. From abroad to Switzerland everyday commute many cross-border workers. In other direction travel Swiss residents that make cheaper shopping in neighbouring EU countries, as prices in Switzerland are very high due to strong exchange rate of CHF/EUR. Food and many other every day products are cheaper in France, so lots of people from Geneva and surrounding areas go make shopping there once in a while.  Now, to this so-called shopping tourism has been added other popular cross-border activity. Swiss citizens living mainly in Geneva and surrounding regions visit France to get cheaper COVID-19 tests. The reason for that is the fact screening for coronavirus is no longer free in the country.

Saving Money

              Switzerland has stopped covering costs of the COVID-19 tests for most people as of October 11th. The decision was made in order to start charging for tests and save some money, as the cost of daily screening for COVID-19 was estimated at four million francs. If the test were to remain free of charge until at least January 24th, 2022, when the COVID certificate requirements expires, as much as 770 million francs would be spent by the federal government on them. That is why it was decided to start charging for tests, though not everybody has to pay. COVID-19 tests are still free for those with the coronavirus symptoms, children up to 16 age, those who couldn’t get vaccinated due to health reasons and have a medical certificate to prove it, as well as those waiting for the second jab of the vaccine, but only until the end of November.

Cheaper Tests Abroad

              As tests are not covered by the government anymore, the public broadcaster RTS reports that many residents visit France to get tested. In the country prices of test vary depending on the type of test and whether they are made in testing centres or bought in pharmacies. Most places offer PCR test for 134 Swiss francs (around 124 euros as per latest exchange rate) and rapid antigen test for 47 Swiss francs (around 43 euros as per latest exchange rate). In France prices are much lower – 44 euros (around 47 CHF as per latest exchange rate) for PCR and 22 euros (around 23 CHF as per latest exchange rate) for antigen test – prices were capped at this level as of October 15th.  French result test are valid in Switzerland for the Covid certificate and for international travel.

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