Swiss to open borders to Europeans on June 15

ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland plans to open its borders to European Union countries, EFTA members and Britain on June 15, the government said on Friday, bringing forward its timetable as cases of the novel coronavirus ebb.

Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter informed her cabinet colleagues of the move, which goes further than an original plan to open borders with neighbours Germany, Austria and France on June 15 and aim to add more countries by July 6.

“The (government’s) line corresponds to that of many European countries. At the informal video conference of the interior ministers of the Schengen countries on Friday, numerous ministers expressed the wish to return to normality and to lift controls at the European internal borders on June 15,” it said.

Switzerland last month had told its southern neighbour Italy, suffering one of the world’s highest tolls of COVID-19 infections and deaths, that Rome’s plan to lift border controls from June 3 was “too early”.

New Swiss cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, rose by 23 on Friday to 30,936. The death toll reached 1,660.

Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Jason Neely