New coronavirus: What to do in the event of symptoms and possible infection

People who have typical symptoms of Covid-19 disease must go into isolation. People who have had close contact with a person with Covid-19 disease must go into quarantine. This way chains of infection can be broken. 

Reason for isolation and quarantine

Isolation and quarantine are measures designed to break chains of infection and thus contain the spread of the new coronavirus. These measures apply to people who have been confirmed with an infection or are suspected to be infected. Suspicion may arise, for example, because they have typical symptoms of the disease or have had close contact with someone who demonstrably has Covid-19.

You will find definitions of the terms “close contacts”, “isolation” and “quarantine” on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

What to do in the event of symptoms of the disease

It is important for as many cases of infection with the new coronavirus to be identified as possible. For this reason we recommend a test even if you have only mild symptoms. Do you feel ill, or do you have individual symptoms pointing to the new coronavirus? Then proceed as follows:

1. Reduce contact: Stay at home and avoid all contact with other people.

2. Get a test recommendation: Do the coronavirus check. At the end of the check you’ll receive our recommendation. If you are to have a test you will receive information on the next steps. You can also call your doctor to discuss the procedure.

Children under age 12 do not have to be tested in all cases. The children’s doctor will decide with the parents whether a test is needed, taking account of the FOPH’s recommendations.  

3. Tests: Have a test if this is recommended by the coronavirus check or your doctors. Provided the FOPH’s criteria for testing are met, the costs of the test will be paid by the federal government.

4. Until the test results are available: Stay at home and avoid all contact with other people until the result of the test is available.

What to do in the event of a positive test result

  • Contact tracing: The cantonal authority responsible will contact you. Together you will work out what people have been in contact with you. These people may have to go into quarantine.
  • Covidcode: If you use the SwissCovid App, on request you will receive a Covidcode from the cantonal authority. You can use the Covidcode to voluntarily activate the alert function in the app to anonymously notify other users of the contact.
  • End of isolation: The cantonal authority will inform you when your period of isolation ends. As a rule you can only leave your home 48 hours at the earliest after the symptoms of the disease have subsided. But whatever the case you may not leave home until at least 10 days after your symptoms first appeared.  

What to do in the event of a negative test result

Stay at home. You can come out of isolation 24 hours after the symptoms have subsided. This is also our recommendation for other respiratory diseases and the flu.

If you experience symptoms again or are worried, contact your doctor.

What to do following contact with an infected person

Have you had contact with a person who has tested positive for the new coronavirus? You may be contagious (able to infect other people) for the next few days without realising.

In this case the following applies:

  • Strictly follow the rules on hygiene and social distancing.
  • Keep an eye on your state of health.
  • You can continue to work, if possible from home.

If you start experiencing disease symptoms: Stay at home and follow the instructions on what to do in the event of symptoms of the disease.

Only people with whom the person with Covid-19 has been in close contact must go into compulsory quarantine. If you have to go into quarantine, the cantonal authority responsible will contact you and inform you about the next steps.

Instructions of the cantonal authorities

As part of the contact tracing procedure, the person with the disease will be asked who they have been in close contact with. If this person specifies you as a close contact, the cantonal authority will get in touch with you. The authority will inform you about the next steps, and may instruct you to go into compulsory quarantine. From this point the quarantine instructions (PDF, 182 kB, 03.08.2020) are binding.

If you still do not have symptoms 10 days after the contact, with the agreement of the cantonal authority responsible you may go out in public again.

Alert from the SwissCovid App

Have you received an alert (warning) from the SwissCovid App that you have been in contact with an infected person? Please call the specified infoline voluntarily. The infoline will discuss with you the likelihood you have been infected and what to do next.  

Continued payment of salary

If you have to go into isolation because you have the new coronavirus disease and have been signed off work by a doctor, you are entitled to continued payment of your salary or to daily sickness benefits. The continued payment of salary is governed by the Swiss Code of Obligations. This obliges your employer to keep paying you for at least three weeks. Many employers take out insurance so that employees who are absent for longer periods receive daily sickness benefits covering 80 percent of their pay. Check with your employer and your employment contract to find out what arrangements apply to you.

If you have to go into compulsory quarantine because you have been in contact with a person who has tested positive, you are entitled to compensation for loss of earnings. You will find information on this (in German, French and Italian) on the website of the Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO).

Loneliness and anxiety

For many people it’s not easy to spend time alone in isolation or quarantine. You may feel lonely, worried or anxious. Family and friends are a precious resource. Stay in contact with them, for example by phone or online. Tell them what’s on your mind. If that’s not possible, phone 143 for the Dargebotene Hand/La main tendue/Telefono Amico Ticino e Grigioni Italiano for someone to talk to, free of charge, around the clock. Or visit There you’ll find tips, ideas and services, also for the time you’re in isolation or quarantine.

Further information

Protect yourself and others

Rules on hygiene and social distancing: keep your distance, wash your hands, cough/sneeze into a paper tissue/the crook of your arm, stay at home if you experience symptoms, recommendations on wearing masks and working from home

People at especially high risk

Dangerous underlying medical conditions and how to handle them, visits to care homes

Measures and ordinances

Measures, easing of measures, conditions for reopening, permitted events or activities, still prohibited, criminal provisions, explanations

Easy-to-read language

Rules and prohibitions of the Federal Council, information about the corona virus, when you have to stay at home

Sign language

The rules and prohibitions of the Federal Council, information about the corona virus, when you have to stay at home

Last modification 01.08.2020

Top of page


We are unable to respond to enquiries related to COVID-19 in writing.

Please refer instead to our webpages, which are continuously updated.

Under Contacts and links you will find contact information for the FOPH, other federal agencies and the cantons.

+41 58 463 00 00

Print contact

Are you experiencing symptoms? Take the coronavirus check! Click here.