Switzerland monitoring mobile phone data to determine further lockdowns: Report

Swiss authorities are using mobile phone data to determine whether more stringent lockdowns need to be put in place.

Switzerland monitoring mobile phone data to determine further lockdowns: Report

The Tages Anzeiger reported late on Monday night that further lockdowns remain on the table in Switzerland – with the major deciding factor being whether or not existing restrictions are being followed. 

As reported, phone data is being tracked to see if people are staying home and choosing not to congregate in groups. If the measures aren’t being followed, more extreme restrictions are set to be implemented by the government at a press conference to take place later on Monday. 

On Friday, March 20th, the Swiss government put in place sweeping new restrictions, calling upon people to stay home and banning groups of more than five under the threat of a CHF100 punishment. 

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The government did however stop short of putting in a curfew, with Swiss Interior Minister Alain Berset saying the government wanted to “avoid a political show”. 

More extreme measures?

According to the Tages Anzeiger, the more extreme measures will be implemented in two steps. 

The first is to impose a curfew from 6pm each day, requiring everyone to stay in their homes unless leaving with a valid excuse such as shopping or visiting a medical facility. 

The government will then continue to monitor mobile phone metadata to determine whether this is being complied with. If not, a complete curfew similar to that seen in Italy and France being a potential further step. 

A number of other countries have used mobile phone data – whether consensually or not – to track the movement of citizens in order to see whether coronavirus curfews are being maintained. 




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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