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HEALTH

150,000 downloads in 15 hours: Switzerland’s Covid app in numbers

The ‘SwissCovid’ coronavirus tracking app has been downloaded 150,000 times since its release. We breakdown the app in numbers.

150,000 downloads in 15 hours: Switzerland’s Covid app in numbers
The interface of Switzerland's coronavirus app. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

According to government data released at 3pm, Switzerland's coronavirus tracing app was launched at midnight – meaning it was downloaded at a rate of 10,000 per hour so far. 

15 minutes 

The app registers when an individual comes into contact with other individuals through a person’s smartphone location systems and bluetooth. 

READ: Swiss scientists launch a new app to collect Covid-19 data

Contact is traced when one person with the app is less than two metres from another person with the app for more than 15 minutes in a 24-hour period. 

Such contacts are recorded anonymously on both devices. 

If one of those users tests positive for the coronavirus, the person will receive a 'covid code' from the cantonal authorities.

READ: Q&A: How will Switzerland's coronavirus tracing app work

Zero: Null, zéro, zero 

How much a coronavirus test will cost if you receive a warning application via the app, after the government pledged to cover the CHF95 cost of each test. 

The app itself is also free. 

20 percent 

Approximately 20 percent – or one in five – of smartphone users cannot use the app because their phones are too old. 

Sang-Il Kim, the Head of Dept. Digital Transformation at the BAG, said that this was a rate much higher than in other countries, with Switzerland’s efforts benefitting from the country’s love of new devices. 

“We are fortunate that only 20 percent of users are technically excluded from the app. In other countries, up to 50 percent of them have smartphones that are too old.”

Users of iPhone 6 and older models cannot use the app. 

20 percent (again)

The government is hopeful that around one in five Swiss will download the app. This is much lower than the 60 percent rate which Oxford University said was necessary to ensure the app functioned effectively in society. 

Kim said on Thursday that 20 percent was an optimistic goal. 

“I would be happy if 20 percent of the smartphones would use the app,” Kim said. 

15 to 20 percent

At the launch of the app on Thursday, the Swiss government said around 15 to 20 percent of current covid cases in Switzerland are imported. 

While the app functions all across Switzerland, it will not work abroad. Switzerland is trying to work with the EU to develop solutions. 

1

The Swiss R-Rate, or reproductions rate, rose above 1 on June 17th. On June 25th, the government said the rate was still stubbornly stuck above 1. 

The basic reproduction number is one way of analysing a disease's ability to spread. It represents the average number of people that a person with coronavirus will pass the virus onto. An R0 (R naught or R zero) of 1 means that each person infected with the virus is passing it on to one other person.

 

 

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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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