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HEALTH

How many people have been tested for coronavirus in Switzerland?

In a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the Swiss health office gave an insight into the country’s testing regime.

How many people have been tested for coronavirus in Switzerland?
Photo: SEBASTIEN BOZON / AFP

Patrick Mathys, from the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, said on Tuesday that more than 200,000 people had been tested for the coronavirus in Switzerland. 

Approximately 25,000 of those tests were positive, of which 3,000 needed hospital care. More than 1,100 people have died in Switzerland as a result of the virus, while around 400 people remain in intensive care. 

UPDATE: What you need to know about the coronavirus crisis in Switzerland 

In total, Switzerland carries out an average of 6,000 tests each week day, with an additional 2,500 on Saturdays and Sundays. 

Although the government has been increasing its testing capacity, Mathys said during the press conference that the demand for tests had waned in recent days. 

Switzerland currently is working towards a testing capacity of 15,000 per day, but is waiting on essential materials in order to carry out the tests. 

“Basically, demand (for tests) has waned. But we know that not everyone who should be tested can be tested now,” he said. 

In order to allow for a greater easing of restrictions, Mathys said the country would need to increase its testing capacity. 

“In connection with easing measures, we are reviewing an adjustment of the tests,” he said. 

“We assume that around 15,000 tests a day are possible. But the materials must then have arrived in Switzerland on time, before we can increase the number.”

 

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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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