The program has been designed to reduce the burden on hospitals.
Under the pilot program, four pharmacies will carry out coronavirus testing. The scheme is then expected to be rolled out to more pharmacies over time: “more pharmacies are to follow” Zurich authorities said in a statement.
With testing capacity requiring an increase ahead of the coming winter, cantonal authorities view pharmacies as an appropriate solution.
Authorities were however careful to point out that only those with mild symptoms – or no symptoms at all – should attend pharmacies in order to get tested.
“In the current situation it is important that even slightly symptomatic people can be tested as quickly as possible,” said cantonal doctor Christiane Meier.
If those being tested meet the government’s testing criteria, the tests will cost CHF50.
The four pharmacies taking part in the testing scheme are in Paradeplatz, Europaallee, Morgental Wollishofen and Regensdorf.
Specialists from approximately 50 further pharmacies have registered to take part in the scheme. There are a total of 250 pharmacies in the canton of Zurich.
This is not the first time such a scheme has been employed in Switzerland. Pharmacies in the canton of Schaffhausen have been offering coronavirus tests since August.