Coronavirus: the most important facts at a glance

The situation is changing all the time. What do I need to know and who can I turn to? Answers to burning questions.

22.11.2022 Tanja Kühnle

You want to be tested for coronavirus, but aren’t sure if the costs will be covered? How to best protect yourself and others and what to be aware of when travelling: we’ll give you an overview of the most pressing issues. 

If you are classed as high risk, you should get tested. The same applies if you have close and regular contact with those who are at high risk. Even if you are not classed as high risk, you can get tested if you wish. The government will cover the test costs.

Stay at home where possible. If that isn’t possible, keep your distance from other people and wear a mask, especially if you are in contact with high-risk individuals.

If you work, inform your employer and discuss your assignment and the necessary protective measures. You should also find out whether or not a medical certificate is necessary.

If you are classed as high risk, you should get tested. Others can also get tested if they wish to do so.

It may be worth wearing a mask and limiting contact with high-risk individuals. Also follow the basic principles.

After a positive individual PCR test or a positive rapid antigen test, you will get a COVID certificate of recovery. You should have a positive pooled PCR test or a positive self test confirmed by a PCR test – particularly if you are classed as high risk.

You should inform your contacts of your positive test result as soon as possible, especially if they are high-risk individuals.

If you have symptoms, stay at home where possible. If that isn’t possible, keep your distance from other people and wear a mask, especially if in contact with high-risk individuals.

Even without symptoms, it makes sense to wear a mask and keep you distance from all contacts, especially high-risk individuals.

Are you yourself classed as a high-risk individual? Then get in touch with your doctor as soon as possible. In this case, early treatment of COVID-19 may be considered.

If you work, inform your employer and discuss your assignment and the necessary protective measures. You should also find out whether or not a medical certificate is necessary.

You can find the latest recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health as part of the “Protect yourself and others” campaign here.

Doctors, hospitals, pharmacies and testing centres run by or on behalf of the canton all offer testing. Along with the usual tests (PCR), they also offer rapid antigen tests.

Retirement homes, nursing homes and socio-medical institutes offer tests for residents, staff and visitors.

You can find information about the current testing options on the cantonal websites. The FOPH website offers an overview under “Coronavirus: Tests”.

Individual PCR tests
The federal government covers the costs of individual PCR tests for individuals who:

  • Are testing because they have symptoms.
  • Have been in close contact with a confirmed case (living in the same household or otherwise in close, regular contact).
  • Have been instructed by a cantonal authority or a doctor to take a test (e.g. due to a positive pooled PCR test).

Rapid antigen test
The federal government covers the costs of nasopharyngeal rapid antigen tests (nose and throat swab).

Antigen self-tests
Self-tests can be obtained from various shops such as pharmacies and chemists, but you have to pay for these yourself.

Antibody tests
The costs of antibody tests are only covered under special conditions based on cantonal or doctor’s orders (e.g. in the case of severe immunodeficiency).

Pooled PCR tests
The federal government covers the costs for everyone.

Self-tests can be obtained from various shops such as pharmacies and chemists, but you have to pay for these yourself.

The cantons are providing the infrastructure for the COVID-19 vaccination. Please check the cantonal Department of Health website, where you will find information about the test centres and registration procedure. The FOPH has compiled a list of cantonal websites.

The costs of the COVID-19 vaccination are covered if it is recommended by the FOPH and the Federal Commission for Vaccination (FCV) for the relevant group of persons. You can find the latest vaccination recommendations on the FOPH website.

You can order your medication from one of our partner pharmacies. Medically prescribed medication will be sent to your home. This will be invoiced to Helsana directly. You can find a list of our mail-order pharmacies here.

The best way to protect yourself and others from a coronavirus infection is by adhering to the basic principles.

You can find out more on the FOPH website under “Coronavirus: Protect yourself and others”.

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) publishes recommendations for travellers that are updated on an ongoing basis. In addition to behaviour abroad, the recommendations also relate to possible measures after returning to Switzerland. Please note that a number of countries have announced restrictions and entry bans.

The provisions of our supplementary insurance solutions specify certain benefits that can be applied to travel in the context of the coronavirus problem:

  • Cancellations of hotel bookings and travelling costs, e.g. before leaving for a high-risk country, are not covered.
  • Medically necessary costs for treatment by a doctor or in hospital are covered under the usual conditions for basic and supplementary insurance solutions TOP/OMNIA/COMPLETA/HOSPITAL/WORLD.
  • For treatment abroad, basic insurance covers a maximum of double the costs for comparable treatment under the Swiss tariff. This is generally insufficient for full cost coverage. To obtain full-cover confirmation of insurance for travelling abroad, you must have one of the following products: TOP, COMPLETA or WORLD.
  • Early returns due to an epidemic are covered by the TOP/OMNIA and COMPLETA supplementary insurance, up to an amount of CHF 500. The return flight must start in a country that is affected by the coronavirus. WORLD supplementary insurance does not cover any contributions in this regard.
  • Extensions of hotel stays and travel rebooking costs due to quarantine abroad are not insured.
  • The insurance does not cover preventative coronavirus tests that are required by an airline or are necessary for entry into another country.
  • The insurance does not cover preventative quarantine in a hotel or hospital.
  • If the public transport booked or used for the trip is cancelled and the continuation of the trip in accordance with the programme is thus not assured, the WORLD supplementary insurance plan will organise and pay for the insured person’s extra return journey or delayed onward journey. Costs due to breakdowns or accidents of private vehicles or due to changes to or the cancellation of the travel programme by the tour operator are not insured.
  • Medically necessary repatriation to an insured person’s country of residence is insured under the TOP/OMNIA/COMPLETA/WORLD supplementary insurance plans*.

* Please note that hospital beds are not always available, either abroad or in Switzerland. The situation in different countries and regions can change on a daily basis. Repatriation to Switzerland may therefore be difficult.

If there is a lack of medical provision abroad, every effort will be made to repatriate you back to Switzerland. The costs are covered by Helsana. However, repatriation is only possible if a jet and a hospital bed in Switzerland are available. If equally adequate treatment can be provided abroad, repatriation is usually not insured. Circumstances permitting, Helsana will nevertheless do everything in its power to repatriate you to Switzerland provided you have concluded the appropriate supplementary insurance. Medically necessary repatriation to an insured person’s country of residence is insured under the TOP/OMNIA/COMPLETA/WORLD supplementary insurance plans*. By contrast, the benefits catalogue for compulsory health insurance does not include repatriation to Switzerland.

* Please note that hospital beds are not always available, either abroad or in Switzerland. The situation in different countries and regions can change on a daily basis. Repatriation to Switzerland may therefore be difficult.

According to the FOPH, the most common long-term consequences are fatigue, shortness of breath, respiratory problems and cognitive disorders. Other frequent symptoms include a loss of sense of smell or taste, difficulty sleeping, muscle fatigue/muscle pain, pain in the chest, recurring fever, rashes and problems following physical exertion. Please consult your doctor if you have concerns about potential long-term consequences.

FOPH information on the long-term consequences of COVID-19

If patients need to be transferred abroad due to a lack of hospital beds in Switzerland, the FOPH or respective canton is responsible for establishing the legal conditions. They manage the allocation of transfer and accommodation costs, and the Swiss hospital or cantonal doctor would be responsible for arranging the transfer.

If you travel abroad of your own will, this is considered elective treatment and is only covered by certain supplementary insurance policies.

This information comes from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Robert Koch Institute.

Exclusion of liability

The information on health topics listed here is general advice and is provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to replace any medical advice. If you have health problems, you should always seek advice from a doctor or health care professional.

My contacts

Medical advice line

For questions relating to medical treatment upon suspicion of the coronavirus, your attending physician is responsible.

The healthcare professionals of Medi24 are also continuing to help our customers around the clock in connection with health-related questions through the provision of specific recommendations – expert, independent and free advice for all Helsana customers..
Tel. 0800 100 008

Insurance cover and assistance in Switzerland and abroad

Should you have any questions relating to the scope of your insurance cover in Switzerland, you can contact our Customer Services.
Tel. 0844 80 81 82

Our International Customer Service will be happy to answer questions on the scope of your insurance cover abroad.
Tel. +41 58 340 18 80

Customers who have already been hospitalised or who will have to be soon as well as customers who need to return prematurely or be repatriated to their country of residence can contact our Emergency Call Centre around the clock.
Tel. +41 58 340 16 11

Emergency psychological support

For psychological support in the event of financial or social emergencies, you can make use of our free emergency psychological assistance.
Tel. +41 58 340 16 11

FOPH coronavirus infoline

The FOPH coronavirus infoline can be reached around the clock.
Tel. +41 58 463 00 00 

Important and current information can also be found on the website of the FOPH.

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