For members


MAPS: Where are Switzerland’s coronavirus hotspots?

This map shows the coronavirus cases over the past 14 days in Switzerland.

MAPS: Where are Switzerland's coronavirus hotspots?
Are events to blame for rising infection rates? Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

On Wednesday November 18th, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) detected a total of 6114 new cases over the past 24 hours. 

There were 85 deaths and 261 hospital admissions nationwide. 

The new numbers came from 30,229 tests – meaning there was a 20.2 percent test positivity rate – another major concern for Swiss authorities. 




The Health Directors’ Conference (GDK) told 20 Minutes that the “unstable” situation indicated people may not be complying with the rules. 

“We still have to be very attentive and, first and foremost, ensure that hygiene and distance rules are observed,” a spokesperson said. 

The following map shows the new infections per 100,000 residents up until Tuesday, November 10th (scroll over for numbers and canton name). 



READ How does Switzerland decide a country is 'high risk'? 

German-speaking Switzerland now also hit

In the early days of the pandemic, Latin Switzerland – i.e. the French and Italian-speaking regions – were much more heavily hit than the German-speaking parts of the country. 

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

In July and August, Geneva and Vaud bore the brunt of rising infections – while most of German-speaking Switzerland avoided the worst of the pandemic

As can be seen through the new numbers however, cases are rising throughout the central, northern and Eastern parts of the country – all of which are primarily German-speaking. 

Ticino, which borders Italy and at one point had the highest number of deaths and infections, has been comparatively spared as at mid-October. 

Why are infections increasing?

Marcel Tanner from the Swiss Government's federal task force, said a major reason was complacency. 

“People are struggling more and more to consistently adhere to the measures. In addition, mobility and – especially during the autumn holidays – travel activity in the country itself has increased.”

Epidemiologist Emma Hodcroft told 20 Minutes that declining temperatures may be behind the rising rates. 

“In the last week and a half, the temperatures have dropped significantly. I wouldn't be surprised if this changed people's behaviour,” she said. 

“You meet more friends inside, close the windows and heat the interior. All of this could lead to a higher risk of infection.”




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For members


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