Coronavirus: Protect yourself and others

Continue to follow the hygiene and social distancing rules. The best way to protect yourself and others from infection is by regularly washing your hands with soap, keeping your distance and wearing a mask.


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

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Get together with fewer people

Many people contract coronavirus in social settings because they cannot or do not want to comply with physical distancing when they are with family and friends. Given the high number of cases, it is important to avoid meeting up with others in large groups. Private gatherings with more than 10 people are therefore banned. It is also important that you mix with fewer people overall. This will help slow down the rapid spread of coronavirus.

We recommend you consciously weigh up when to meet up with people. Consider how many different friends, family members and coworkers you have met up with in the last few days, or will meet up with soon. The more face-to-face contact you havewithin a short period of time, the more people you could infect if you contract coronavirus.

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

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.

masken

Masks compulsory if distancing isn’t possible

Wearing a mask is compulsory in many parts of Switzerland. As a rule of thumb, always wear a mask when you are out and if you cannot maintain a 1.5 metre distance from other people at all times. You’ll find more details on the page Masks.

Always stick to the rule on mask-wearing. You should wear the mask over your nose and mouth. By using and wearing a mask correctly, you can protect others from infection because an infected person can already be contagious without knowing it before symptoms appear. So if everyone wears a mask in confined spaces, we can all protect each other.

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

Masks compulsory in publicly accessible indoor and outdoor areas, and on public transport

Throughout Switzerland, wearing a mask is compulsory:

  • On public transport, on platforms and in public transport waiting areas.
  • In indoor and outdoor areas of publicly accessible buildings and businesses.
  • In indoor workplaces and in upper secondary schools.
  • In busy pedestrian areas in town centres.
  • Anywhere where there are too many people for you to be able to keep 1.5 metres away from others.

On the page Masks, you’ll find more information on the national requirements: where exactly masks must be worn, who is exempt and how to wear a mask correctly.

Please note: These are the minimum requirements throughout Switzerland. Stricter rules may apply in some cantons. If the canton requires mask-wearing in other places, you must wear a mask there, too.

Work in your home office again if possible

Work from home if possible

Work from home again if possible. That way you are reducing your interaction with others and preventing the spread of the virus.

Businesses are called upon to observe the FOPH’s legal requirements and recommendations on protecting employees. However, working from home is not compulsory. You’ll find information on the protection of employees on Protecting workers: requirements.

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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 www.schulen-lueften.ch (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.
 

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Stick to the limits on events and social gatherings

  • No more than 50 people at public events
  • No more than 10 people at social gatherings with friends or family
  • No spontaneous gatherings of more than 15 people in public places, such as town squares, footpaths and parks.

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 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. 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, 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 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.

Note on the current situation: The cantons decide how best to deploy their contact tracing resources in the current situation. At present it is therefore possible that the cantonal authority does not contact you to tell you to go into isolation or quarantine. It is therefore important that you go into isolation or quarantine independently if necessary. Follow the instructions on the page Isolation and quarantine.

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 novel 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.
 

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 12.11.2020

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Contact

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.

Tel.
+41 58 463 00 00

Print contact

Are you experiencing symptoms? Take the coronavirus check! Click here.
https://www.bag.admin.ch/content/bag/en/home/krankheiten/ausbrueche-epidemien-pandemien/aktuelle-ausbrueche-epidemien/novel-cov/so-schuetzen-wir-uns.html