Switzerland to start testing children for coronavirus

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Switzerland to start testing children for coronavirus
A child takes a coronavirus spit test in France. Image: STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP / POOL

Switzerland has lowered the age for coronavirus testing to six years of age, while children in primary schools will be tested in the canton of Zug.


Starting today, the test criteria for symptomatic children from 6 years of age will be the same as for adults in Switzerland. 

This means that in the event of cough, sore throat, breathing difficulties, chest pain, fever, muscle pain and headaches, young kids will be systematically tested for coronavirus. 

Until now, only children 12 years and older have been tested using the same criteria as adults.

Health authorities said testing of children in that age group will help track the circulation of the virus in the population.


Zug primary schools to test children

The news comes as authorities in the canton of Zug will expand testing to primary schools. 

A program of testing secondary school students has been carried out successfully in the canton in recent months. 

Children of grade four and over will be tested in the canton. This will be through the so-called ‘spit tests’. 

While the tests are voluntary, everyone is encouraged to take part. 

READ MORE: Where can you get tested for Covid-19 in your Swiss canton for free?

So far, the canton has had a 99 percent participation rate in the secondary school tests, 20 Minutes reports. 

A spokesperson for the canton noted that the tests were necessary due to rising infections among children. 

“In contrast to the previous course of the pandemic, infections among children were increasingly the focus. The infection rate is currently increasing, especially among children of primary school age,” the canton said in a statement. 

“In the canton of Zug, too, the detected infections among schoolchildren in classes below secondary school have increased in recent weeks. In calendar week eleven alone, 35 pupils from primary and kindergarten levels were found to be infected with the coronavirus.”

Since the testing regime started, 105 pupils and five classes have been quarantined. 

As primary school students will now be tested in the canton, there is no need to extend the mask requirement, reports Swiss media. 



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