Taking the Covid-19 test in Switzerland

With numbers of covid-19 cases on the rise and the cold/flu season already on the march, the government is desperate to prevent another general lockdown. This is why the FOPH deparment has called for more tests to take place and for them to be easily accessible to all.

Who should test?

Anyone who has one or several of the following symptoms: Cough, Sore Thorat, Shortness of breath with or without fever, or feels feverish. Or anyone who has lost their sense of smell/taste; or anyone who has received a message on the Swiss Covid App that they were in contact with someone who now has Covid-19.

If you are unsure whether you should ask for a test, you can do the online checklist.

How to get a test.

Call your GP and tell them your symptoms, they will either give you an appointment to go by their office to do the test, or send you to a testing centre.

Who pays for the test?

If you have symptoms or were informed by the Swiss Covid app that you were in contact with someone who has since developped symptoms then the test is free.

If you need to have a negative test to travel, then you will have to pay for it yourself. Swiss residents pay CHF 170.-, tourists can pay up to CHF 500.-

How does the test work?

You will be required to wear a mask into the doctor’s office and not touch anything. The nurse will then put a thin qtip like thing up your nostril and take a sample of your mucus. It is uncomfortable but over in 2 seconds (if you don’t move). The results will come in within 24 to 48 hours. During that time you are required to self-isolate.

How do I get the result?

The doctor’s office will call:

  • If it’s negative you can come out of isolation 24 hours after your symptoms disappear.
  • If it is positive someone from the department of health will be in touch with you to find out the name and contact info of the people you have been in contact with 48 hours prior to developing your symptoms, so that they can be tested too. You will then have to isolate.

How strictly must I isolate if I am positive.

You are to stay home for 10 days or at least 48 hours after your symptoms have cleared up. Please note that if your symtpoms included losing your sense of taste/smell, these can take longer to come back so you can come out of isolation 48 hours after all the other symptoms have subsided.

Can I leave the house?

Only to go to the doctor’s or for another emergency, in which case you must wear a mask and avoid public transport. Going for walks or shopping are not allowed if you have Covid-19 and you could be fined up to CHF 10 000.- for breaking the rules!

I am living with others how can I avoid infecting them?

  • Isolate yourself in one room, this is where you should sleep, rest & eat.
  • Ask someone else to do your shopping and/or get your medication.
  • Use your own bathroom if possible.
  • Do not share bedding, towels or dishes with the other people.
  • Keep a minimum distance of 1m50 to others.
  • Avoid physical contact with your house pets.

What if a family member develops symptoms?

Then they should get tested too.

What if I have symptoms but don’t want to get tested?

Then you and whoever is living with you must stay in quarantine for a minimum of 10 days.

Who can I call for more advice?

Call the infoline from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at +41 58 463 00 00

More online support and information

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The FOPH website

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