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.

11.02.2021

Gabriela Braun

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. 

You only need to go into mandatory quarantine if you have been in close contact with a person who is sick. That’s because in the days following your contact with this person, you could be infectious without realising it. If you have to go into quarantine, the relevant cantonal authority will contact you and inform you how to proceed.

Please consult the FOPH’s website for detailed information about what to do and answers to other questions. The link is provided below.

You need to immediately self-isolate at home to avoid infecting others. Get tested. How long you self-isolate depends on the test results. If you test positive, the responsible cantonal authority will get in touch with you and give you further information and instructions. 

You will find the FOPH guidelines on self-isolation in this PDF. 

Please consult the FOPH’s website for detailed information about what to do and answers to other questions. The link is provided below.  

Doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, laboratories, home nursing providers and dedicated testing centres run by or on behalf of the canton all offer testing. Along with the usual test (PCR), they also offer a new antigen quick test. 

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

You can find information on testing facilities on cantonal test sites; the FOPH website offers an overview. The link is provided below. 

Do the coronavirus check. If it recommends that you get tested, you’ll receive instructions on how to proceed.

An antigen quick test is less sensitive than the usual coronavirus test. It returns a result within 15 minutes. This test is best used in situations where someone is infectious but not considered particularly at risk. 

The FOPH recommends using the quick test for people who:

  • Show the symptoms defined by the FOPH, as long as they have been present for no more than four days. 
  • Aren’t showing symptoms but have received a notification from the SwissCovid app.

This differs depending on the situation. 

The federal government covers the costs of the normal coronavirus test (PCR) as well as the antibody quick test if:

  • The person shows at least one of the symptoms defined by the FOPH (e.g. symptoms of an acute respiratory disease). 
  • The person has received a notification from the SwissCovid app. A single test should be carried out five days after contact, at the earliest.
  • The person had close contact with a COVID-19 case, is showing no symptoms and is in quarantine. A test is possible from the fifth day after contact.  
  • The cantonal doctors state that the test is necessary to identify or control an outbreak. 
  • It serves to protect persons who are at high risk. Certain group categories can be tested re-peatedly in hospitals, retirement homes, nursing homes and at other socio-medical institutes. 

The employer covers the costs if: 

  • They have ordered the test. 

The tested person pays if:

  • They get tested purely of their own volition.
  • Their symptoms do not meet the federal government’s test criteria. 

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. In general, over 65s will be vaccinated first, and over 75s will have first priority.

The vaccination is free for insured people, and is not subject to a deductible or excess. You will not receive an invoice. The costs are covered by the federal government, canton and health insurance.

Based on initial estimates, the Federal Council believes that the vaccination programme will cost a total of CHF 200–250 million, to be covered by basic insurance. These costs will not cause any increases in health insurance premiums.

It is always important to take a combination of different measures to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus, wherever you are. Together, these measures can significantly reduce the risk of an infection. 

  • Wash your hands regularly and well.
  • Cough or sneeze into a paper tissue or the crook of your elbow. Immediately dispose of the paper tissue after use.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Stay at home if you have a fever or cough.
  • Keep your distance.
  • Don’t shake hands.
  • Restrict your contact with other people to a minimum. 
  • Only go to the doctor or emergency department after you've made an appointment by phone.
  • Wear a mask whenever you are in public, particularly when you are unable to keep an appropriate distance from other people. . You should also wear a mask if you if you use a service or attend an event that has a safety concept that prescribes the wearing of masks. Please observe your local cantonal requirements.
  • Ventilate all rooms regularly. Always open the windows fully and ensure that air is flowing through the space. The more people in a room and the smaller the room, the more often you should ventilate it. Aerosols, which are tiny liquid droplets, remain suspended in the air for some time and quickly spread indoors. We release these when we breathe and speak – to an even greater degree when we laugh, shout and sing.
  • When we do things that make us breathe more intensely, such as physical work, sport, talking loudly and singing, it is particularly important to keep an appropriate distance from other people, wear masks and ventilate rooms more thoroughly.

Please consult the FOPH’s website for detailed information about what to do and answers to other questions. The link is provided below.

If you have the SwissCovid app, you can find out if you have been in contact with an infected person. This can help to break the chain of infection and prevent any resurgence of the epidemic. The SwissCovid app will also provide you with information on what to do if you have been in contact with an infected person. In this case you can be tested for free. We strongly recommend downloading the app. Watch this video to find out how simple it is.

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 your 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 owing 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 which is affected by the coronavirus. WORLD supplementary insurance does not cover any contributions in this regard.
  • Extensions of hotel stays and travel rebooking costs owing to quarantine abroad are not insured.
  • The insurance does not cover preventative coronavirus tests which are required by an airline or which 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 owing 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 required repatriations to an insured person’s country of residence are insured under the TOP/OMNIA/COMPLETA/HOSPITAL/WORLD supplementary insurance plans*.

*PLEASE NOTE: Please note that hospital beds may not be available abroad. Returning to Switzerland is currently difficult to arrange and is nearly impossible in some cases. Even Swiss Air-Rescue (REGA) only has limited options. Because the situation in various countries and regions can change on a daily basis, we currently recommend avoiding travelling abroad. 

If you are currently having problems making your payments to Helsana, please contact us. You can contact your personal advisory team. You can find the telephone number on your policy and benefit statement or under our contacts. You can also reach us easily and securely via your myHelsana client portal. We will find an individual solution together.

You can order your medication from one of our partner pharmacies. Medically prescribed medication will be sent to your home and charged directly to Helsana. You can find the homepages with the contact details of our online pharmacies under partner companies.

No, don't stop using medication that was prescribed by a doctor on your own initiative. If you're worried, contact your doctor by phone.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are reports of long-term complications associated with COVID-19 for patients of all ages. Those affected have reported symptoms lasting months including severe exhaustion, trouble breathing, rapid heartbeat and memory problems, which sometimes make it impossible to return to work or daily life. According to WHO, there are not yet any completed studies with figures on the number of patients impacted.

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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