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HEALTH

Newly released figures show Switzerland is flattening the coronavirus curve

New coronavirus infections in Switzerland have reached their lowest levels in more than two months.

Newly released figures show Switzerland is flattening the coronavirus curve
Coronavirus testing in northern Italy. Photo: Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

On Tuesday, May 5th, there were a total of 28 new infections in Switzerland. It marks the first time that fewer than 50 new infections have been recorded in total across the country since March 5th, while it is the lowest daily total since March 4th. 

 

 

There were 76 infections recorded by the Federal Office of Public Health from Sunday to Monday, compared with 76 from Saturday to Sunday. 

In addition, new figures from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office have shown declining mortality in all but one region across the country. 

Looking at figures from late April, the Federal Stats Office compared usual mortality rates for over 65s to those this year. 

Given the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus and difficulties testing the deceased, this has been considered a helpful metric in determining the true impact of the virus – while also providing a base of comparison with other illnesses such as the seasonal flu. 

In Switzerland’s seven major regions, the death rates were within the annual projections for this time of year in all but two: the Lake Geneva and Ticino regions. 

Although the rates were higher than the yearly average in these two regions, the data showed they were decreasing. 

Experts have greeted the news as a sign the country’s lockdown measures have been working, although they have indicated the country must proceed with caution in winding back lockdown restrictions. 

READ: Experts warn of second coronavirus wave in Switzerland

International Hand Washing Day

Tuesday was also International Hand Washing Day, with FOPH spokesman Daniel Koch releasing a video in English while challenging several others to follow suit. 

 

 

Alongside Health Minister Alain Berset, Koch has been at the forefront of Switzerland’s daily press briefings on the battle against the coronavirus. 

 

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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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