New coronavirus: SwissCovid app and contact tracing

Contact tracing is used to identify people who have been in close contact with people who have been infected with the coronavirus. The SwissCovid app supports this process: it establishes whether we have been in close physical contact with someone who is infected. That way, we can break the chains of transmission.

SwissCovid app helps to break transmission chains more quickly

The SwissCovid app for mobile phones (Android/iPhone) will help to contain the new coronavirus. It complements the conventional contact tracing carried out by the cantons – and thereby helps to break the chains of transmission. The SwissCovid app is available in the Apple Store and Google Play Store.

Icon SwissCovid App

Download the SwissCovid app

Please download and install the SwissCovid app from the normal app stores, even if you have already installed the pilot version. It will be updated by the new download. The data will not be deleted.

Using 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 contain the new coronavirus.

However, we must all continue to follow with the rules on hygiene and social distancing. With a combination of the SwissCovid app, contact tracing and following the rules, we can continue to contain the new coronavirus.

How does the SwissCovid app work?

Install the SwissCovid app on your Apple or Android smartphone. All you then need to do is switch on Bluetooth and have your phone with you at all times.

When within Bluetooth range, the mobile phone exchanges random IDs (identification code) with other mobile phones that have a compatible app installed. The random IDs are stored on the mobile phone for 14 days before being 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 using apps from other countries are currently stored, but it is not possible to receive notifications via these apps.

How notification works

If a SwissCovid app user tests positive for the coronavirus, they receive a Covidcode from the cantonal authorities. The code allows them to activate the notification function in the app, thereby warning app users that came into close contact with the infected person in the period starting two days before that person first experienced symptoms of the disease. When the code is entered, the app notifies these other app users automatically. The identity of the person who triggered the notification is not revealed. However, it is possible that someone could work out the identity based on the date.

A notification is triggered if the app user has spent at least 15 minutes at a distance of under 1.5 metres from at least one infected person within a 24-hour period. It is possible for someone to be under 1.5 metres away from several infected individuals for less than 15 minutes within the space of a day. As these encounters may exceed a total of 15 minutes, the Swiss Covid app will notify the app user that there is a risk of infection.

The people who have been notified can then call the infoline number in the app and find out what to do next. Their privacy is maintained at all times. If a person who has been notified has already developed symptoms of the disease, they should stay at home, avoid contact with other people, and do the coronavirus check or call their doctor.

By working together in this way, we can all help to break the chains of infection.

Protecting privacy

Data about other users recorded by your mobile phone is only saved locally on the device. Neither the mobile phone nor the SwissCovid app sends 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, or if the app proves to be ineffective, the system will be shut down.

Further information

Legal position

Before the SwissCovid app could be launched, the Epidemics Act had to be amended. To do this, the Federal Council submitted a bill to Parliament. In its June session, Parliament approved the statutory provisions relating to the app, making only minor changes to the draft legislation. This 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

Parliament has decided that anyone who has been notified by the SwissCovid app that they may be infected with the coronavirus is entitled to be tested free of charge.

Compensation for loss of earnings related to coronavirus measures

You will find information on this topic on the FSIO website (in German, French or Italian)

Security test

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.

Producer

The SwissCovid app system has been developed on behalf of and in cooperation with the FOPH by the Federal Office for Information Technology and Telecommunications FOITT, the Federal Institutes of Technology in Zurich (ETH) and Lausanne (EPFL) and the Swiss company Ubique.

FAQs, factsheet, report, ordinance, technical information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)Technical Information

Factsheet

Report

Ordinance

This content is not available in English. Please switch to the German, French or Italian version.

Technical Information

Contact Tracing: tracing of transmission chains

Identifying persons who have been in contact with someone who has been infected is one of the most effective ways of combating epidemics. This involves tracing and breaking the chain of transmission, by isolating persons who have become ill and placing those who have been in close contact with infected persons in quarantine (see the page on Isolation and quarantine).

Contact tracing is possible while the daily number of new infections remains low. This allows the cantonal authorities to trace the people who have been in close contact with persons newly infected, thus keeping the spread of the virus under control.

How does contact tracing work?

The cantonal authorities are responsible for tracing chains of transmission. This is what they do:

When a person tests positive for the coronavirus:

  • The cantonal authorities work with that person 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 authorities notify the persons identified that they may be infected.
  • If these persons do not have any symptoms, they must spend ten days in quarantine, counting from the date on which they may have been infected. If they do not develop any symptoms during this period, they are allowed to leave quarantine.

When a person notified already has symptoms of the disease:

  • They must go into isolation. If they test positive for the virus, the authorities must also trace the persons they have been in close contact with.

When a person in quarantine develops symptoms of the disease:

  • They must go into isolation immediately and get tested for the new coronavirus.
  • If they test positive, the persons they have been in close contact with must be traced.
  • Because the person is already in quarantine, they are unlikely to have been in close contact with many other people, if any at all. Quarantine has already broken the chain of transmission.

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

SwissCovid App: Data Protection Statement & Conditions of Use

The Terms and Conditions of Use and the Data Protection Statement for the SwissCovid App

Situation in Switzerland

Cases of coronavirus infections and deaths, epidemiological situation, search for antibodies, advisory body, press conferences, news

Measures and ordinances

Measures, easing of measures, conditions for reopening, permitted events or activities, still prohibited, criminal provisions, explanations

Last modification 30.06.2020

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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.

Print contact

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