Coronavirus: People at especially high risk

The coronavirus can be dangerous for older people, pregnant women and adults with certain pre-existing conditions as they may become seriously ill. What should they pay attention to?

Who is considered to be at especially high risk

The coronavirus is particularly dangerous for the following groups of people, as they risk contracting a severe case of the disease:

Older people (The risk that people will contract a severe case of coronavirus disease increases as they get older. The risk of being hospitalised also increases from the age of 50. Pre-existing (underlying) conditions increase the risk even further.)

Pregnant women

Adults with the following underlying medical conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Chronic pulmonary and respiratory diseases
  • Cancer
  • Conditions and therapies that weaken the immune system
  • Obesity class II (BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2)
  • Liver cirrhosis
  • Chronic kidney disease

If you are unsure whether you are at a higher risk of becoming severely ill, please contact your doctor.

Further information

The fact sheet entitled New coronavirus: Recommendations for people with underlying medical conditions (PDF, 232 kB, 01.03.2021) offers further information for people at especially high risk. It also provides details of support services available to help those affected manage their illness in the current situation.

Pregnant women

For information on the topic of pregnancy and coronavirus, visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

Children and young people

The risk of children developing severe cases of COVID-19 is low. According to current science, children are not considered to be an at risk group requiring additional protective measures. However, evaluations are made on a case-by-case basis by the attending doctor.

What to do if you experience symptoms

If you experience symptoms such as a cough (usually dry), sore throat, shortness of breath, a high temperature, fever, sudden loss of sense of taste and/or smell or muscle ache, call your doctor or a hospital immediately, even at the weekend. Describe your symptoms and state that you are in a high-risk group.

Recommendations for family caregivers

Are you caring for a vulnerable person or living with them in the same household?

How to protect yourself and the person you’re caring for:

  • Keep to the rules on hygiene and social distancing.
  • Get together with as few people as possible.
  • Maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres from other people, even when you’re meeting friends or family.
  • Wear a mask if this distance cannot be maintained.
  • If possible avoid busy periods in places where there are a lot of people (for example rush hours on public transport or at the railway station, or shopping on Saturdays).
  • Let those around you know what support you need. Accept this support or contact organisations such as Spitex home nursing.
  • Talk about what you’re going through, your thoughts and feelings with other people, for example your family, friends and acquaintances, or professionals.
  • Prepare for the eventuality that you yourself become ill: Name (preferably together with the person you’re caring for) someone to take your place as caregiver. If possible make sure you and the person you’re caring for write down all the important information so that everything’s close at hand if you become ill.

Read the fact sheet on Recommendations for family caregivers (PDF, 227 kB, 08.12.2020) for information about what to do on a day-to-day basis or when symptoms of the disease appear.

Visits to care homes

Residents of old people's homes and nursing homes are among those at especially high risk. They should therefore be protected against infection as far as possible. Visits to homes and outings outside the institutions should, however, be possible in principle.

Contact the institutions directly to find out about special precautions, social distancing rules and visiting times.

COVID-19 vaccination

Two COVID-19 vaccines have been approved for use in Switzerland. If you are among those at especially high risk, you can be among the first to be vaccinated.

You can find detailed information on COVID-19 vaccination under the section on Vaccination.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to frequently asked questions concerning pregnancy can be found here.

Further information

Disease, symptoms, treatment

Information on Covid-19, the symptoms and the range of illness severity as well as the origin of the new coronavirus

Last modification 01.03.2021

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