Switzerland drops below its ‘high-risk’ threshold due to falling Covid-19 rates

For the first time in almost three weeks, Switzerland is no longer a ‘high-risk’ area for the coronavirus according to its own threshold, due to falling infection rates across the country.

Switzerland drops below its 'high-risk' threshold due to falling Covid-19 rates
Switzerland is no longer a high-risk area for coronavirus, but it's not risk-free. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Based on figures from the Federal Office of Public Health, Switzerland’s Tages Anzeiger newspaper reported on Wednesday that the Alpine nation has fallen below its self-determined ‘high-risk’ threshold. 

When Switzerland put in place its quarantine requirement for foreign travellers, the government established a threshold of 60 infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the previous 14 days to determine which countries were ‘high risk’. 

Since July 6th, arrivals from so-called high-risk countries have been required to quarantine upon entering Switzerland.

UPDATE: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's quarantine requirement

It might lead to some twisted logic, but if Switzerland was a foreign country, arrivals would have been forced to quarantine for ten days.

For the first time since September 12th, the number of new infections per 100,000 people is below 60. 

On nationwide figures, the BAG says there has been 55 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days. 

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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