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HEALTH

Switzerland officially ‘the world’s safest country’ for coronavirus

According to a new study, Switzerland is the safest country in the world when it comes to the coronavirus.

Switzerland officially 'the world’s safest country' for coronavirus
A Swiss flag which spells out 'us' in all of Switzerland's languages. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The study, produced by the non-profit Deep Knowledge Group, a consortium of companies and non-profit organisations. 

Switzerland sits in first place with a score of 752, while Germany is in second place with 749 points. 

Four tiers of coronavirus safety

The study ranked 200 countries into four tiers of coronavirus safety. There were 20 countries in the first tier, coming from Asia, Europe, Oceania, the Middle East and North America. 

The United States and the United Kingdom ranked in the third tier along with hard-hit European nations like Spain and Italy. 

South Sudan is officially the most dangerous country in the world for coronavirus infections. 

Photo: Deep Knowledge Group

Economic factors are growing in importance

While the measures a country put in place to stop the spread of the virus – as well as the underlying quality of the nation’s medical system – were important in determining the rankings, so too was the resilience of the country’s economy. 

“Switzerland and Germany achieve the #1 and #2 positions in this new special case study specifically because of their economy’s resilience, and due to the careful ways in which they are attempting to relax lockdown and economic freezing mandates in a fact and science-based manner, without sacrificing public health and safety,” said the authors. 

The study hoped to present an average of each country, while acknowledging that some regions have been much more heavily affected than others. 

In Switzerland, while the German-speaking part of the country has largely escaped the worst of the virus, the French-speaking and particularly the Italian-speaking parts of the country have been significantly impacted. 

Coronavirus in Switzerland: Why have the French and Italian-speaking regions been so hard hit? 

Top ten

Switzerland Germany Israel Singapore Japan Austria China Australia New Zealand South Korea

 

Member comments

  1. How can CH be the safest country when they aren’t doing as much testing as South Korea is doing? Nothing is clear and transparent as long as every person is tested.

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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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