Contact tracing identifies people who have had close contact with people who have been infected with the coronavirus. The SwissCovid app supports this process, establishing whether close contact has taken place and giving rapid notification if there is a potential risk of infection.
Quickly alerted to potential risk of infection thanks to the SwissCovid app
The SwissCovid app for mobile phones (Android/iPhone) is helping to contain the coronavirus. It complements the conventional contact tracing carried out by cantonal authorities to track new infections. Chains of transmission can thus be broken more quickly. The SwissCovid app is available in the Apple Store and Google Play Store.
Use of the SwissCovid app is voluntary and free of charge. The more people who install and use the app, the more effectively the app can help us to combat the new coronavirus.
To use the proximity tracing function, switch on Bluetooth on your mobile phone and have your phone with you at all times.
When within Bluetooth range, mobile phones on which the SwissCovid app or compatible apps are installed exchange random IDs (identification codes) with each other. These IDs remain stored on the mobile phones for 14 days and are subsequently deleted automatically.
Apps compatible with the SwissCovid app are similar apps from other countries (e.g. Germany’s Corona-Warn app). The random IDs of those with apps from other countries are currently stored, but an alert via these apps is only possible with apps that are interoperable with the SwissCovid app. At present this is the German Corona-Warn-App.
The SwissCovid app’s check-in function is a decentralised system which does not record personal data and uses neither Bluetooth nor GPS. The check-in function will be particularly useful anywhere where people get together and there is no requirement to record contact data – for example at private gatherings, club events or in professional settings (meeting rooms, auditoriums, canteens, etc.).
As an event organiser, you can generate a QR code for your guests to scan when they arrive. You can generate the QR code either in the SwissCovid app or online at qr.swisscovid.ch. After the event, attendees confirm via the app that they have left the event. This information will be stored locally on the user’s smartphone for 14 days. If a person tests positive for coronavirus following the event and enters the Covidcode in the SwissCovid app, an automatic notification is issued to all attendees who checked in to the same event as the infected person – either at the same time, or if they checked in within 30 minutes of the infected person leaving the event.
If you have installed the SwissCovid app and you have tested positive for the coronavirus, you receive a Covidcode (release code). Covidcodes can be issued by cantonal authorities, doctors and pharmacists who perform tests, and test centre personnel.
The Covidcode allows you to activate the notification function in the app, enabling you to anonymously warn other app users who during the infectious phase you had close contact with (starting two days prior to the onset of symptoms) or who were at the same event as you. The individuals who are issued alerts are not informed of the identity of the person who triggered the notification. However, it is possible that someone could work out the identity of the contact based on the date.
You will receive a notification under the following three conditions
Within a 24-hour period, you had contact with an infected person:
at a distance of under 1.5 metres
for at least 15 minutes
Within a 24-hour period, you had contact with several infected individuals:
at a distance of under 1.5 metres
for less than 15 minutes per person
but for a total of more than 15 minutes overall
You checked in to the same event as one or more infected individuals:
at the same time or within 30 minutes of the infected person/people leaving the event.
What do you need to do if you receive a notification from the app?
Please follow the recommendations in the app. Keep an eye on your state of health. If symptoms appear, have a test immediately. It makes sense and is recommended to have a test also if you have no symptoms and are not yet vaccinated.
Complete the SwissCovid guide and follow the instructions. If you are subsequently still unsure how you should proceed, call the SwissCovid Infoline. The telephone number will be displayed in the app if you receive an alert.
Privacy is maintained at all times.
Install and activate the SwissCovid app
Download the SwissCovid app
Please download and install the SwissCovid app from the normal app stores:
Data about other users recorded by your mobile phone is only saved locally on the device. Neither mobile phones nor the SwissCovid app send any personal or location data to a central storage location or server. This means that no one can work out who you have been in contact with or where that contact took place.
Once the coronavirus crisis is over, the system will be shut down.
SwissCovid app monitoring
The Federal Office of Information Technology, Systems and Telecommunication FOITT informs the Federal Statistical Office FSO daily (Monday to Friday) of the number of active apps and Covidcodes entered as well as the number of guides completed owing to the receipt of a notification of possible infection. You can find out more by gong to the FSO website: SwissCovid App Monitoring.
Before the SwissCovid app was able to be launched, the federal government had to amend the Epidemics Act, which regulates organisational and operational matters, the processed data and using the app. Parliament approved the amendment to the Act on 19 June 2020.
Free testing on notification
Anyone who receives a notification via the SwissCovid app that they may be infected with the coronavirus is entitled to be tested free of charge.
IT specialists and various groups of people have comprehensively tested how well the SwissCovid app works and its data security levels in a pilot phase. The National Cybersecurity Centre (NCSC) has assessed the test results and arranged the modifications to the app that are required.
You will find further information on the security test for the SwissCovid systems (Public Security Test: SwissCovid Proximity Tracing System) the NCSC/MELANI website.
The SwissCovid app system has been developed on behalf of and in cooperation with the FOPH by the Federal Office for Information Technology, Systems and Telecommunication FOITT, the Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and Lausanne (EPFL) and the Swiss company Ubique.
The task of contact tracing is to identify persons who have been in contact with an infected person and thus to identify chains of transmission. Individuals who have become ill must go into isolation, while those they have come into contact with must go into quarantine (see the page on Isolation and quarantine). This allows for chains of transmission to be broken.
How does contact tracing work?
The cantonal authorities responsible for tracing chains of transmission proceed as follows:
When a person tests positive for the coronavirus
The cantonal authorities work with the person who has tested positive to ascertain who they have been in close contact with – in the 48 hours before the symptoms of the disease developed, up to the point at which they went into isolation.
The cantonal authorities notify these individuals that they may be infected. They are required to go into quarantine for ten days (from the time they came into contact with the infected person).
If they do not develop any symptoms after ten days, they are allowed to leave quarantine by the authorities.
When a person notified already has symptoms of the disease or symptoms develop during the quarantine period
They must immediately go into isolation.
They must get tested.
If the test is positive, the authorities will also trace the persons they have been in close contact with.
If the individual was already in quarantine, they are unlikely to have been in close contact with many other people. Quarantine has already broken the chain of transmission.