Pandemic preparedness

Given the risk of a flu pandemic, the federal and cantonal authorities have planned measures to prevent and deal with the situation and help people cope better with everyday life. It will take several months to manufacture a suitable vaccine for the new pandemic influenza virus. For this reason everyone has to prepare so that they know what to do to protect themselves and others they encounter on a day-to-day basis.

Being prepared means staying healthy and slowing the pandemic

The Federal Office of Public Health’s pandemic plan assumes that without protective measures, around two million people would be affected by an influenza pandemic. Around 50,000 of these people would have to be taken to hospital.

There are important hygiene measures that everyone has to know to stay healthy.

The most important information on this can be found in the section on hygiene in the event of a pandemic on this website. Much of the practical advice presented here should already be part of people’s day-to-day routine. Only by acting responsibly can we stay healthy or avoid infecting other people if we get sick. That way we can slow the spread of the pandemic.

Being prepared means keeping economic and social activity intact

The more people who fall ill, the fewer employees there will be to keep businesses and the administration running: absences from work can be expected to reach 40% at the height of a pandemic. Under these circumstances it will be very difficult to maintain business as usual. For this reason, being prepared and slowing the spread of the pandemic also means as far as possible maintaining social and economic activity in our country for everyone’s benefit.

International perspective: the WHO

Given the risk of a flu pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that all countries prepare for a pandemic on the basis of the International Health Regulations. These preparations are designed to protect the public as effectively as possible from the spread of diseases from country to country. The WHO recommends grading the available resources and measures according to the risk.

Swiss Influenza Pandemic Plan

The Swiss Influenza Pandemic Plan is the planning instrument used by the federal and cantonal authorities to prepare for a pandemic.

Information for professionals

This page contains additional information and aids for download by professionals.

Flu pandemic: Preparedness handbook

The preparedness handbook describes the measures to be taken to protect employees from infection and keep a business running in the event of a pandemic. It is geared to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

What Switzerland is doing

Switzerland takes the threat of a flu pandemic very seriously, and makes preparations on both the federal and cantonal level. Here you’ll find an overview of the strategic principles behind the approach.

Last modification 04.09.2018

Top of page


Federal Office of Public Health FOPH
Prevention and Healthcare Provision Directorate
Communicable Diseases Division
Schwarzenburgstrasse 157
3003 Bern
Tel. +41 58 463 87 06

Print contact