New coronavirus: Protect yourself and others

Continue to follow the hygiene and social distancing rules. You can best protect yourself from infection by regularly washing your hands with soap and following the rules on social distancing. 

You will find posters and videos about the rules on hygiene and social distancing on the campaign website:

Rules on hygiene and social distancing

Work in your home office again if possible

Work in your home office again if possible

Work from home again if possible. That way you are reducing your interaction with others and preventing the spread of the virus. Employers must put precautionary measures in place to ensure that everyone working on premises can observe the hygiene and social distancing rules.

As in spring 2020, businesses are called upon to observe the FOPH’s recommendations on working from home during the Covid-19 epidemic. However, working from home is not compulsory.


Ventilate rooms several times a day

The risk of transmission of the new coronavirus in inside spaces can be reduced by suitable ventilation measures. We therefore recommend regular ventilation in all rooms in which people are present.

Please note the following here:

  • Always open the windows fully and ensure that there is a draft when ventilating a room.
  • Ventilate all rooms regularly and frequently. The more people there are in a room and the smaller the room is, the more frequently it should be ventilated.
  • Ventilate the whole flat three to five times a day for between five and ten minutes.
  • Ventilate rooms in which several people are present for extended periods (e.g. work rooms, recreational areas, home-office rooms) every one to two hours for between five and ten minutes.
  • Ventilate classrooms at least after each lesson. Further information and tips in this regard can be found at (website available in German, French and Italian only).

Important: Good ventilation cannot prevent infection through close contact. Keeping your distance, wearing a mask and observing the rules on hygiene remain the most effective measures.

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 or canteen), keep your distance from the people in front of and behind you
  • At meetings: leave a chair free between participants
  • 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.

If you can’t keep your distance, wear a mask

Masks compulsory on public transport

People over the age of 12 must wear a mask on all forms of public transport. This applies on trains, trams, buses, funicular railways, cable cars and boats – including on the outside deck. The only exception is on ski lifts and chair lifts.

You’ll find further information on the page Masks.


Wear a mask if it is not possible to keep your distance

We recommend that you wear a mask in public spaces in the following situations:

  • Wear a mask if you are unable to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres to other people and where there is no physical protective barrier such as a partition.
  • If you are using a service or attending an event where the wearing of masks is one of the precautionary measures.

Visors are no substitute for a face mask. They protect the eyes from possible infection through droplets, but the possibility of infection via the nose or mouth cannot be excluded.

 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 new coronavirus, you must phone ahead.

If you are feeling unwell, experiencing health complaints or symptoms not associated with the new coronavirus:

Take it seriously and get treatment. Seek assistance and don’t wait too long. Call a doctor.

Test, trace, isolate and quarantine

The rules Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine are designed to identify and break chains of infection from person to person. According to our current state of knowledge, this is the most effective way to control and further curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

But you must continue to follow the hygiene and social distancing rules. This is the best way to protect yourself and others from infection.



Identifying infection early on: if you feel ill, or are experiencing particular symptoms, stay at home, take the coronavirus check, or call your doctor. Answer all the questions in the online check or on the phone as well as you can. At the end you’ll receive a recommendation as to what to do next  and be instructed to get tested if necessary. 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 What to do in the event of symptoms and possible infection.

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


Contact tracing

Identifying chains of infection: If the coronavirus test indicates an infection, the cantonal authorities consult with the person affected to work out who they had close contact with up to two days before the symptoms of the disease appeared. Then the authorities will notify these close contacts of the possibility that they might be infected, and what to do next. This process is called contact tracing.

If possible you should leave your contact details if you go to a restaurant or take part in public events or activities. This will enable the cantonal authorities to trace chains of infection. For example, if a waiter who served you in a restaurant the day before contracts the disease, the cantonal authorities will be able to inform you on the basis of the attendance list.

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

Breaking chains of 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. The cantonal authority will contact you and inform you about what to do. You’ll find more information on the page What to do in the event of symptoms and possible infection.

Our recommendation: Keep at least 1.5 metres away from other people whenever possible. This also applies, for example, when you take part in an event: If you strictly follow the social distancing and hygiene rules during the event, you won’t need to go into quarantine if an (unknowingly) infected person has attended the same event. This is because the risk of infection is much lower in this case.



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

Disease, symptoms, treatment

Symptoms of disease, range of illness severity, treatment, COVID-19, new coronavirus

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 27.10.2020

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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.