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COVID-19 CERTIFICATE

How to get Switzerland’s Covid certificate with an antibody test

Want to get Switzerland's Covid certificate with an antibody test? Here's what you need to know.

A Covid antibody test opened up to show all of the components
Covid antibody tests can now be used in order to get a Covid certificate in Switzerland. Photo: Ina FASSBENDER / AFP

Since Tuesday, November 16th, antibody tests can be used to get Switzerland’s Covid certificate. 

Antibody tests show that someone has recently had the virus and therefore has built up a degree of immunity. 

Covid tests from antibody certificates will be valid for 90 days and are only valid in Switzerland, i.e. will not be valid when used abroad. 

Previously, Covid certificates for people who had recovered from the virus were only available when they had evidence of a positive test taken at the time they had the virus. 

READ MORE: Switzerland approves antibody testing for Covid certificate

A Covid certificate on the basis of recovery is valid for 12 months from the time the positive test was taken, up from the previous six months. 

Swiss authorities said more studies were being done on the duration of immunity from both Covid infection and from vaccination, but indicated that a longer period of validity for those who have recovered from the virus was warranted. 

What are antibody tests for Covid? 

Antibody tests are the name given to serological tests which seek to determine if you have antibodies in your system for the virus. 

As noted by the Swiss government “the presence of a person’s own antibodies indicates that they have already been in contact with the virus or have been vaccinated.”

Antibody tests are 99 percent reliable in showing Covid antibodies in your blood, according to the Swiss government. 

Canton-by-canton: How visitors can get Switzerland’s Covid certificate

How can I get a Covid certificate with an antibody test? 

Antibody tests are offered by pharmacies, general practitioners and in hospitals. There is no exhaustive or official list of providers. 

Contact your doctor or visit your local pharmacist to find out about antibody testing. 

The cost of the tests are not covered by the government. A test will usually cost between 60 and 100 francs. 

Once you complete the test, it will be sent to a lab. 

The lab will assess your sample and then issue a Covid certificate. You do not need to apply separately. 

The test must be taken after November 16th, i.e. antibody tests taken before that date will not be sufficient. 

What if I haven’t been able to get an appointment? 

Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes reported on November 17th that appointments at doctors’ offices and pharmacies were booked out across the country, due to the popularity of the tests. 

For those who have been unable to get an appointment, there are some other options – including doing the test yourself. 

Zurich start up Health Yourself allows people to do the test themselves at home and return it, provided they film the entire thing and provide ID so that it is clear they have done the test themselves. 

Whether this is allowed is up to the authorities in each canton. 

 

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COVID-19 RULES

Reader question: Which Swiss cantons will keep the Covid certificate in place?

Several Swiss cantons have expressed a desire to keep the Covid certificate in place. What does that mean for the relaxation of Covid measures?

Reader question: Which Swiss cantons will keep the Covid certificate in place?

On Wednesday February 16th, Switzerland announced an imminent relaxation of almost all Covid measures. 

The decision was made after a two-week consultation with Switzerland’s cantons to decide the way forward out of the pandemic. 

The government announced that almost all Covid measures are being relaxed from Thursday, February 17th.

Covid certificates – which show someone has been vaccinated, recovered or in some cases has tested negative – will no longer be required in restaurants, cinemas or at events.

Masks will no longer be required in shops, supermarkets and the workplace, while they will continue to be required in public transport for the meantime. 

More information about the relaxed measures can be found at the following link. 

UPDATE: Switzerland to scrap Covid certificate and most mask rules

What does this mean at a cantonal level? 

While the federal government no longer requires Covid certificates, they can however be required by the cantons, under the new framework.

Swiss media has previously reported that several cantons want to keep the certificate in place.

READ MORE: Swiss cantons divided on ending Covid measures

During the consultation period, several cantons expressed reservations about completely removing the certificate requirement. 

The small, centralised and predominantly German-speaking cantons of central Switzerland — Zug, Schwyz, Uri, Nidwalden, Obwalden and Glarus —  were in the greatest hurry to return to pre-Covid rules.

These cantons argued that a gradual lifting would be too complicated and difficult for the population to understand.

The southwestern canton of Valais preferred this approach as well, but only “as long as the number of cases and hospitalisations continue to decrease by mid-February”. Otherwise, the lifting of the measures should be done in stages.

However, Geneva, Basel-City, Neuchâtel and Jura said it was too early to lift remaining measures.

“It is too risky at the moment, given the still high load in hospitals”, according to Basel-City, which added that “the effects of the first relaxations, such as teleworking and quarantines, are also not yet known”.

Will some cantons still require a Covid certificate?

Berset clarified on Wednesday that while some cantons had argued for this as part of the consultation process (i.e. on a federal level), they would most likely not unilaterally keep the certificate rule in place from February 17th onwards. 

Berset however said he would need to clarify the matter with cantonal representatives and did not rule out some cantons deciding to keep the certificate in place in some instances – for example in relation to nightclubs or large events.

As at Wednesday afternoon, no cantons have indicated they will keep the certificate requirement in place. 

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