COVID-19: Federal Council adopts ordinance on COVID-19 certificates
Bern, 04.06.2021 - The issuance of COVID-19 certificates for people who have been vaccinated, or who have tested negative or recovered from COVID-19 is starting according to plan in June. During its meeting on 4 June 2021, the Federal Council adopted the ordinance on COVID-19 certificates. It forms the legal basis for the issuance of certificates. Aside from their form and content, it also regulates the responsibilities of the Confederation and the cantons in issuing them, the requirements for checking them and the certificates' compatibility with the EU Digital COVID Certificate. The ordinance will enter into force on 7 June 2021.
The Federal Office of Information Technology, Systems and Telecommunication (FOITT) is creating a system for issuing and checking COVID-19 certificates. With the ordinance on certificates to prove COVID-19 vaccination, COVID-19 recovery or a COVID-19 test result (COVID-19 Certificates Ordinance), the Federal Council is creating the legal basis for the issuance of such evidence. The certificates are issued in both hard copy and electronic format. Both types contain the certificate details in readable format, as well as a forgery-proof QR code equipped with an electronic signature of the Confederation. This makes it possible to securely check the certificate without personal data being transmitted or saved in the process. To ensure that the systems for COVID-19 certificates have a high level of security, they are currently being subjected to an endurance test by experts and stakeholders within the framework of a public security test. The first certificates are to be issued gradually from 7 June 2021, and they will be available to the general public by the end of June at the latest.
Close cooperation between Confederation and cantons
The cantons define which healthcare institutions may issue COVID-19 certificates. They designate specialists (at vaccination centres, test centres, hospitals, doctors' surgeries, pharmacies, etc.) as issuers, and these then issue certificates, upon request, to people who have been vaccinated, or who have tested negative or recovered from COVID-19. The Confederation provides a system for issuing, checking and revoking COVID-19 certificates. This enables the connection of existing IT systems (e.g. vaccination and test systems), which means that digital issuance is also possible. It accompanies the cantons during the introduction of the solution and the associated organisational adjustments.
Storage and checking of COVID-19 certificates
The system includes, among other things, a storage app, COVID Certificate, and a checking app, COVID Certificate Check. Both apps will be available free of charge in the official app stores of Google and Apple. Users can store and present their COVID-19 certificate digitally in the COVID Certificate app. The COVID-19 certificate in the app is equivalent to the paper certificate. The COVID Certificate Check app can be used to check COVID-19 certificates on paper or in the COVID Certificate app: when doing so, the checker sees only the full name, date of birth and validity of the COVID-19 certificate.
Data protection and EU compatibility
The certificate system provided by the FOITT takes data protection concerns into account. Personal data is not stored centrally by the Federal Administration. The personal data needed for signing the certificate is deleted from the Confederation's system as soon as the certificate has been generated and transmitted. The Confederation's solution is also compatible with the EU Digital COVID Certificate system envisaged by the EU and allows for the mutual recognition of certificates.
Gradual introduction from 7 June 2021
The ordinance on COVID-19 certificates will enter into force on 7 June 2021. Thereafter, the system will be introduced gradually and will be ready throughout Switzerland by the end of June 2021. The ordinance is based on Article 6a of the COVID-19 Act, which gives the Federal Council the power to define the requirements for proof of COVID-19 vaccination, COVID-19 recovery or a COVID-19 test result. The ordinance does not deal with the circumstances under which a COVID-19 certificate has to be presented in order to attend an event, for example, nor with the lifting of restrictions that may be associated with this. The cantons were consulted on the draft ordinance and informed about the technical aspects of COVID-19 certificates before the consultation.
Address for enquiries
Federal Office of Information Technology, Systems and Telecommunication FOITT
Tel. +41 58 463 00 30, email@example.com
- Verordnung über Zertifikate zum Nachweis einer Covid-19-Impfung, einer Covid-19-Genesung oder eines Covid-19-Testergebnisses (Covid-19-Verordnung Zertifikate) (PDF, 477 kB)
The Federal Council
Federal Department of Finance
Federal Office of Public Health