The federal government has been assuming all corona test costs for six months. Regardless of whether someone has symptoms or is only being tested to receive a Covid certificate for dining out or training in the gym. Around 30,000 to 35,000 people can currently be tested every day. That costs the federal government 1.5 million francs a day.
This will be over on Monday, October 11th. The tests are chargeable again. There are exceptions, however. In addition, the tests are not equally expensive everywhere. Blick answers the most important questions about the new test regime.
1. How much does a corona test cost me?
The providers determine that themselves. Many pharmacies will continue to offer the test for CHF 47. So far they have received that much from the federal government per test. Others, on the other hand, are starting a real price war: the Bern club operator Jan Kamarys (38), for example, wants to offer tests for 11 francs. At the Olma in St. Gallen, visitors can be tested in front of the entrance for less than 30 francs. And a Rheintaler family doctor even only requires a five-ply, as the “Rheintaler” reports. However, the dumping price only applies to young people up to the age of 30.
Health Minister Berset: “People without symptoms have to pay for the test themselves”(01:14)
There are also hardly any upper limits to the costs: PCR tests at Zurich Airport can cost up to CHF 380. Antigen tests cost up to 80 francs there.
2. What if I feel sick?
If you have corona symptoms, you can still test it free of charge. Likewise, if you have been in close contact with an infected person. However, in this case, those tested do not receive a Covid certificate. The federal government wants to prevent people from simulating in order to get a certificate for free.
3. What exceptions apply to children and young people?
Anyone who is not yet 16 years old can continue to be tested for free. However, young people under 16 do not yet need a Covid certificate in Switzerland; one way or another they get access to restaurants, fitness centers and other facilities. However, some of them need a certificate if, for example, they are going on vacation.
4. What if I have been vaccinated once and therefore don’t have a certificate?
Those who already have the first dose can continue to be tested free of charge until the end of November. According to figures from the Federal Office of Public Health, 60 percent of the population have been vaccinated twice. Just five percent at first. That corresponds to 400,000 people who will continue to benefit from free tests.
5. I cannot get vaccinated for health reasons. Do I have to pay for corona tests?
No. Anyone who has a medical certificate stating that they cannot be vaccinated can continue to have a free test. However, the vaccine from Johnson & Johnson has recently been used in Switzerland. Anyone who is allergic to the mRNA vaccines from Moderna and Biontech / Pfizer now also has the option of being vaccinated.
6. I want to visit my grandmother in the old people’s home. Do I have to forego the visit because of the test costs?
No. Anyone visiting a health facility, such as a nursing home or hospital, can continue to be tested free of charge. In these cases, however, similar to people with corona symptoms, no Covid certificate is issued. This is to prevent unvaccinated people from taking a visit to the old people’s home as an excuse to get a free certificate for visiting the club, for example.
7. Can I do a self-test instead to save costs?
Self-tests are actually cheaper. But even for the self-tests, the costs have not been covered since October 1st. In pharmacies, drugstores and retail outlets, the tests are available in packs of 5 for 20 to 30 francs. But be careful: If you have a negative self-test, you won’t get a Covid certificate. So there is no access to the restaurant, gym or club.
8. I’m coming back from the autumn break. Do I have to get tested and pay for it?
Those who have not been vaccinated or recovered must actually show a negative test when they return from abroad. After four to seven days in Switzerland, people who have not been vaccinated have to be tested again. That means: Unvaccinated people pay for two tests. Once abroad before leaving Switzerland. And the second time a few days after their return.
9. Where can I still get tested?
Pharmacies, general practitioners and the official test centers of the cantons (including in hospitals) continue to test. There are currently also test centers run by private operators, a dime a dozen. Whether they stay or close down soon depends on how many people continue to get tested regularly despite the costs. Joel Meier (48), operator of 20 test centers in the country with 400 employees, warned of the closure of his test centers when he announced the new test regime: “I think we have to fire people.”
10. Will fewer people be tested now?
Some of those involved actually fear that. Most of the parties therefore demanded that the federal government shell out the test costs until the end of November. But the bond remained tough. He feared that the vaccination incentive would be too small if the federal government continued to bear the test costs.
Operators of fitness studios, restaurants and other businesses where visitors need a Covid certificate also fear that they will lose customers. If you have to do a 50-franc test before going to a restaurant, you will probably think twice about whether you actually want to go to the restaurant. However, since the introduction of the compulsory certificate, sales in the catering sector have not decreased as much as initially reported by the Gastrosuisse Association. It is possible that the costs for the corona tests for the companies will be less steep than feared in advance.