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Vol. 150 No. 1112 (2020)

COVID-19 epidemic in Switzerland: on the importance of testing, contact tracing and isolation

  • Marcel Salathé
  • Christian L. Althaus
  • Richard Neher
  • Silvia Stringhini
  • Emma Hodcroft
  • Jacques Fellay
  • Marcel Zwahlen
  • Gabriela Senti
  • Manuel Battegay
  • Annelies Wilder-Smith
  • Isabella Eckerle
  • Matthias Egger
  • Nicola Low
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2020;150:w20225


Switzerland is among the countries with the highest number of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) cases per capita in the world. There are likely many people with undetected SARS-CoV-2 infection because testing efforts are currently not detecting all infected people, including some with clinical disease compatible with COVID-19. Testing on its own will not stop the spread of SARS-CoV-2. Testing is part of a strategy. The World Health Organization recommends a combination of measures: rapid diagnosis and immediate isolation of cases, rigorous tracking and precautionary self-isolation of close contacts. In this article, we explain why the testing strategy in Switzerland should be strengthened urgently, as a core component of a combination approach to control COVID-19.


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