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HEALTH

UPDATED: Four cases of coronavirus confirmed in Switzerland

Two new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the canton of the Grisons, added to one case in Geneva and Ticino.

UPDATED: Four cases of coronavirus confirmed in Switzerland
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
The two new cases were reported on Thursday morning, with the patients put into quarantine. 
 
Earlier on Thursday, a 28-year-old man in the canton of Geneva become Switzerland’s second confirmed case of coronavirus. The man, who had recently travelled to Milan, received the positive confirmation early on Thursday morning. 
 

 
Once the diagnosis was made clear, 15 of the man’s friends and work colleagues were put in quarantine. 

 

Indicating the spread of the virus across Switzerland, there is another positive case in the central canton of Aargau, although the positive test is waiting a confirmation. 

The first positive case was detected in the southern canton of Ticino which borders the Italian region of Lombardy, which has become the centre of the outbreak in northern Italy. 

Update: Switzerland confirms first case of coronavirus

Coronavirus in Italy: Should Switzerland close its southern border?

Geneva watch expo cancelled over coronavirus

The organiser of Geneva's international expo of fine watches said Thursday it had decided to cancel the April event because of the spread of the new coronavirus. 

“In view of the latest developments concerning the worldwide spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus… the decision has been taken to cancel the upcoming edition of Watches and Wonders Geneva” said the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.

The Geneva event is a major trade show for the luxury watch industry and is particularly important for the many Switzerland-based makers of fine timepieces. 

China and the Asian region have become increasingly important in recent years for watchmakers as they have for other luxury goods manufacturers. 

China is at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak, and international airlines have scaled back flights to the region and many firms are cutting back travel by their employees. 

Other large international business gatherings, such as Europe's top mobile phone trade show in Barcelona, have been cancelled amid the outbreak, which has now killed over 2,700 people and infected some 78,000. 

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The Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie said “in order to protect the health and well-being of all our guests, press, partners and teams” it had decided that it should cancel the event, due to have taken place in Geneva from April 25th-29th.

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HEALTH

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad
 

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