Coronavirus: Protect yourself and others

The best way to protect yourself and others from infection is to follow all the rules on hygiene and physical distancing: wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands frequently with soap and regularly ventilate indoor spaces.


You will find posters and videos about the rules on hygiene and social distancing on the campaign website: foph-coronavirus.ch.

Rules on hygiene and social distancing

Keep your distance.

Keep your distance

You can be infected with the new coronavirus if you have had close, prolonged contact with an infected person. By keeping the necessary distance (1.5 metres), you protect yourself and others from infection:

  • When standing in line (for example in the supermarket), keep your distance from the people in front of and behind you
  • Protect people at especially high risk around you by keeping your distance
  • Observe the rules for visitors to old people’s homes, care homes and hospitals

Keep your distance on public transport

Try to avoid travelling during the morning and evening rush hours, and use less popular routes, especially if you are travelling for leisure.

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Wear a mask if prescribed or if distancing isn’t possible.

In Switzerland it’s compulsory to wear a mask in some places. Visit the Masks page for details of where precisely masks must be worn, who is exempt, and how to use your mask properly.

Always also wear a mask if you’re not at home and are can’t constantly keep your distance from other people. Wear the mask over your nose and mouth. By wearing and using your mask properly you can protect others from infection: an infected person may be contagious for up to two days before symptoms appear without even being aware. So if everyone wears a mask in confined spaces, we can all protect each other.

Work in your home office again if possible

Recommendation to work from home

It’s still recommended to work from home in consultation with your employer. This reduces contacts and thus the potential spread of the virus. Measures to safeguard the health of people working on premises must be observed.

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Ventilate several times a day

Ventilating indoor spaces helps remove air that contains virus particles and reduces the risk of transmission.
Good ventilation is particularly important in indoor spaces where people from different households congregate. Particularly when the weather is warm, it is a good idea to leave windows open for extended periods.

Please note the following:

  • Always open the windows fully and ensure that there is a draft.
  • Spaces where people from several households congregate should be ventilated at least once an hour for 5 to 10 minutes (e.g. living room with guests, common rooms)
  • Ventilate classrooms every 20 to 25 minutes if possible. Further information and tips on this can be found at www.schulen-lueften.ch (website available in German, French and Italian only).
  • Remind yourself to ventilate: e.g. set an alarm on your mobile phone or use a CO2 detector that measures how well ventilated a room is.
  • If you have a ventilation or air conditioning system: to ensure effective protection, make sure your system is on a high ventilation rate (maximum level of air changes per hour/ACH) and on the lowest possible air recirculation rate (information for operators: https://suissetec.ch/de/lueftung.html).
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Stick to the limits on events and social gatherings

Permitted number of persons: Information on the current rules can be found on the Measures and Ordinances page.

Important: The limits on numbers of people include children.

Please note: These are the minimum requirements throughout Switzerland. Stricter rules may apply in some cantons. If the canton has stipulated stricter limits or banned events completely, you must follow these rules.
 

 Wash your hands thoroughly.

Wash your hands thoroughly

Handwashing is of crucial importance when it comes to hygiene. You can protect yourself from infection by washing your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water. Soap renders the virus harmless.

Wash your hands every time you come home, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, and before preparing food.

You wash your hands properly by wetting your hands, soaping and rubbing them together until you get a lather. Rinse your hands thoroughly with running water. Dry your hands with a clean towel, if possible a disposable paper towel or a cloth roller towel.  

You should also bear in mind that it’s best not to wear any rings, or to take them off before washing your hands and clean them with soap as well. Use cream to moisturise your skin, and keep your fingernails short and clean.

We advise against the use of gloves for day-to-day activities. They do not provide sufficient protection against infection and give a false sense of security.

 Avoid shaking hands.

Avoid shaking hands

Depending on what you have just touched, your hands are not clean. Infectious droplets from coughs or sneezes can get onto your hands. They can then get into your system if you touch your mouth, nose or eyes. 

You can protect yourself from infection by:

  • Not shaking hands.
  • Not fist bumping.
  • Avoiding hugging and kissing to greet people.

Cough and sneeze into a paper tissue/handkerchief or the crook of your arm.

Cough and sneeze into a paper tissue or the crook of your arm

Blowing your nose, sneezing, spitting and coughing can all spread viruses if you don’t follow the rules.

How can I reduce or avoid the risk of spreading the virus?

  • Cough or sneeze into a paper tissue, or if you don’t have a tissue into the crook of your arm
  • Wash your hands afterwards every time you cough, sneeze, spit or blow your nose.
  • Use a paper tissue, and use it only once. Then dispose of it.
 Always call ahead before going to the doctor’s or the emergency department.

Always call ahead before going to the doctor’s or the emergency department

If you have to go to the doctor’s or an emergency department because of symptoms associated with the coronavirus, you must phone ahead.

If you are feeling unwell, experiencing health complaints or symptoms not associated with the coronavirus: Take it seriously and get treatment. Doctors and hospitals have made arrangements so they can treat patients safely with the necessary protective measures. You can therefore get treatment without any risk of infection.

Test, trace, isolate and quarantine

The measures Test, Contact trace, Isolate and Quarantine are designed to identify and break chains of infection from person to person at an early stage.

Test

If you experience symptoms, get tested immediately and stay at home

Identifying infection early on: if you feel ill, or are experiencing particular symptoms, get tested immediately. Stay at home until the results of the test are available. These recommendations also apply if you have only mild symptoms. This is because infected people are contagious even if they feel well.

You can find information on how best to proceed in the event of a positive or negative test result on the page Isolation and quarantine.

You’ll find details of the typical symptoms on the page Disease, symptoms, treatment.

Trace

To enable contact tracing, always provide your complete contact information

Always provide your complete and correct contact information in restaurants, bars and at events. The cantonal contact tracing authorities need this information to trace contacts and to break potential chains of infection. Contact tracing identifies who has contracted COVID-19 and who is very likely to have been infected. The aim is for these people to consciously stay away from others (isolation or quarantine) and therefore not to infect anyone else. This is designed to systematically break chains of infection.

People are contagious even before they experience symptoms. So an infected person could quite conceivably still feel well and go to restaurants or events. In situations like these, contact information is crucial to be able to track chains of infection because the infected person does not know all the guests and staff personally, so cannot inform them.

download and activate the SwissCovid app

Download and activate the SwissCovid app

The SwissCovid App for smartphones is now available to complement classic contact tracing. It will tell you if you’re in close contact with a person with the disease, even if you don’t know them personally. You’ll find more information under SwissCovid app and contact tracing.
 

Isolate and quarantine

Isolate and quarantine

Self-isolation and quarantine are measures designed to break chains of infections of the coronavirus and to curb the spread of the disease. If you have tested positive for coronavirus, you must self-isolate. If you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, or if you have travelled to Switzerland from a country or region with an increased risk of infection, you must go into quarantine.

You’ll find everything you need to know on the page Isolation and quarantine.
 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Answers to frequently asked questions concerning infection and risks can be found here.

Documents

downloads

Downloads in various languages

Information campaign ‘Protect yourself and others’: posters, videos and instructions in different languages, incl. those of Switzerland’s migrant population

Further information

Masks

Requirement to wear masks, masks in everyday life, types of mask and where to buy them, correct use of masks

Last modification 25.06.2021

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Contact

Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Infoline Coronavirus
Tel. +41 58 463 00 00

Print contact

https://www.bag.admin.ch/content/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/so-schuetzen-wir-uns.html