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COVID-19 TESTS

How much do Covid tests now cost in Switzerland?

Screening for coronavirus is no longer free of charge for unvaccinated people, but the cost varies from one place to another. Here’s an overview of some prices in Switzerland.

Covid tests are no longer free of charge in Switzerland
Prices for antigen tests vary in Switzerland, but some people are exempted from paying. Photo by JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

When it announced that free coronavirus screening would end on October 11th, the Federal Council did not specify how much these tests should cost.

 “The federal government has not set any tariffs and price setting is subject to private autonomy”, the government said in an interview with Swiss-German radio station FM1 Today.

This means that anyone providing official Covid testing is free to set their own prices.

As a result, the amount you can expect to pay for an official test will vary significantly across the country. 

READ MORE: Switzerland ends free Covid testing: Everything you need to know

Until now, the government reimbursed 47 francs for a rapid antigen test, but many venues offer cheaper options.

For instance, Swiss media outlet SRF reported that organisers of an agricultural exhibition in St. Gallen offered tests for 26.50.

In Bern, managers of four clubs and discos are reportedly planning to make antigen tests available to their customers for just 11 francs.

A testing centre in St. Gallen is adopting a pay scale based on age: children and students are charged 25 francs, while adults pay 37 francs.

And while pharmacies set their own prices as well, few can compete with such inexpensive tests.

In general, antigen tests in Switzerland cost between 47 and 54 francs, according to Stefan Ullmann, president of Thurgau Pharmacy Association — amounts needed to cover the costs of the screening process.

In his pharmacy, Passage Apotheke in Frauenfeld, Ullman charges 54 francs for a rapid antigen test.

In the Coop Vitality and Amavita pharmacy chains, the test is around seven francs cheaper — 47 francs.

However, some screening centres exceed this price: the Appenzell Innerrhoden Cantonal Health Center charges 70 francs, while the same test costs 80 francs at the Zurich Airport.

Some people are still exempted from paying for testing.

They include, until the end of November, those who have had the first dose of the vaccine and are waiting for the second shot.

The exemption also applies to  children up to 16 years of age, visitors to health facilities, symptomatic people, as well as those who can’t be vaccinated for health reasons (and can prove it with a medical certificate).

EXPLAINED: Who will continue to get free Covid tests in Switzerland after October 10th?

Have you been overcharged for a Covid test since October 11th? Or do you know somewhere you can get a bargain? Let us know: [email protected]

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COVID-19 TESTS

Most PCR tests no longer free in Switzerland

As the quarantine obligation for contact persons was lifted from Thursday, Swiss government will continue to cover only a limited number of tests.

Only certain people, like elderly care home residents, will continue to have free PCR tests. Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/ AFP
Only certain people, like elderly care home residents, will continue to have free PCR tests. Photo by PATRICK HERTZOG/ AFP

Before the new rule went into effect Wednesday at midnight, the government paid for PCR screening for contact persons — those who live with or had “regular and close” contact with someone who tested positive. 

Under the previous framework, anyone who had close contact with a Covid-positive person was required to isolate for five days. 

But since these contacts are no longer required to quarantine, their PCR tests are not covered.

However, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), there are a range of exceptions.

The government will continue to pay costs of screening for certain groups of people, including those living in elderly care facilities, hospital patients and healthcare workers, as well as people who are at a particularly high risk, such as those undergoing chemotherapy.

All the others will have to pay for their tests themselves; prices for PCR tests range from 110 to 195 francs, depending on the screening location and rapidity of results.

The Federal Council announced the lifting of contact quarantine on February  2nd, along with the end of the home-working obligation.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Swiss to end quarantine and working from home obligation from Wednesday

Other measures, like the Covid certificate requirement and restrictions on private meetings, could be scrapped from February 17th, provided Switzerland’s  epidemiological situation allows it.

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