The Swiss national rail operator says nearly all train travel between Italy and Switzerland will be suspended indefinitely starting Thursday because of COVID-19 control measures that have been required by Italian authorities.
An Italian government decree requires that train operators carry out temperature checks on passengers, who also must show they’ve tested negative for the coronavirus and carry a document from their employers authorizing travel, Swiss federal railway service spokeswoman Ottavia Masserini said.
“We don’t have the resources to apply these requests,” Masserini said by phone. She said the measures amounted to “almost entirely a halt” to train travel between the two countries, though some regional trains on a single line linking Brig, Switzerland, and Domodossola, Italy, that are run by a different operator would continue their traffic.
The railway standstill could affect many cross-border workers, particularly in the health care sector, who travel from Italy to southern Switzerland every day.
The halt to traffic comes amid heightened concerns about the spread of COVID-19 during Europe’s second wave. Switzerland has recorded high levels of transmission, but hasn’t enacted control measures that are as strict as in neighboring countries like France, Italy and Germany.
Masserini said train travel between Switzerland and Italy is down by 50% this year amid the pandemic, which left cross-border traffic between Switzerland and those European neighbors at a virtual standstill in the spring for at least two months — during the first wave of COVID-19 in Europe.