As The Local wrote on Wednesday, Switzerland has implemented a broad testing strategy for free coronavirus screening throughout the country.
In a nutshell, the federal government is covering all costs of rapid antigen tests since March 15th.This means all residents of Switzerland can get tested free of charge, even if they have no coronavirus symptoms.
If you need a PCR test because you have Covid symptoms, or if you were ordered by a doctor to get screened, the test will be free as well.
However, if you request a test to be able to travel, you will have to pay for it yourself, according to the Federal Office of Public Health.
Generally speaking, they send results by SMS, email, or sometimes both.
One thing to keep in mind is that the amount of information you will receive depends on what kind of test you had.
For instance, if you have no coronavirus symptoms and opt for the free antigen (rapid) test, you will receive results by SMS. In some cantons your name will not be included, just your date of birth and the result.
If you get a PCR test, the results will be sent to you by SMS and sometimes email too, and your name will be included along with the birth date. (If your results are positive you will also receive a phone call from your canton’s health officials with instructions on how to isolate).
What if you need to show your test results for travel?
Obviously, the first option, a free antigen test, is not a viable alternative, as your name won’t be included.
Your best bet would be the so-called ‘test with a certificate’. Regardless of whether you choose a PCR or antigen test, it has all the information — delivered in an electronic, printable form — that may be required by the airlines and immigration authorities in foreign countries.
The cost of these tests, which you will have to pay yourself, varies from one canton to another, starting at 30 francs for the antigen and at 100 for the PCR.
Again, this is a general information, which can vary according to canton.
What about the self-tests?
The government said it would make five free ‘self tests’, which can be used at home, available to every Swiss resident from March 15th.
However, as these tests are not yet available, there is no information on how users will be able to show these results.
NOTE: As with all of our coronavirus guides, this is intended to provide guidance only and does not constitute official advice. Please contact your specific test centre for more information.