On March 5th, Switzerland’s Federal Council announced everyone would receive five free tests per month.
The Swiss government promised to “assume the cost of all tests from March 15th”, it said in a statement.
The new strategy focuses on three types of screenings: testing of symptomatic people; frequent and large-scale testing in schools, companies and institutions; and self-diagnostic tests, aimed at reducing transmissions in the circle of personal acquaintances.
Until now, the government paid only for tests carried out on those with symptoms, as well as asymptomatic people in care homes and schools.
‘Five self-tests per month’
One of the strategies of free testing, focusing on curbing the spread of infections and preventing new outbreaks, is that each Swiss resident will be entitled to five free coronavirus ‘self-tests’ per month.
These tests were delayed for weeks due to “ongoing validation work”. They were eventually approved on March 31st – and will be available from April 7th onwards.
In addition to using the free tests, asymptomatic people can now be screened for free in testing centres.
As was the case previously, anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus, or who has been notified by SwissCovid app that they have been in contact with infected person, can have the test for free.
But in such cases, you will be required to remain in isolation at home until a negative result is received.
You also won’t have to pay if cantonal health office or your doctor orders you to have a test as part of an outbreak investigation, if you are called in for a test by medical authorities to prevent a large-scale outbreak — for example in schools, ski areas, in certain regions, etc. — or you have a test to protect vulnerable people in hospitals or care homes. In this case you will be invited for a test directly by the establishment in question.
However, if you need a negative test result to travel or to come out of quarantine early, you will have to pay for it yourself.
Once self-kits become available, new measures will be in place.
For instance, if you test positive, you will have to get a PCR test to confirm this result.