Sick with coronavirus – what now?

Tisch mit Erklältungsutensilien wie Fiebermesser, Tee und Kleenex-Box Tisch mit Erklältungsutensilien wie Fiebermesser, Tee und Kleenex-Box

What should you do if you suspect COVID-19? Whether you have questions about symptoms, treatment or quarantine – we're here to give you important information.


How can I tell whether I have caught the coronavirus?

A high temperature (fever), coughing and difficulty breathing as well as the sudden loss of the sense of smell and/or taste are the most common symptoms. Most cases will be mild, and some people may not even notice they have symptoms.

The disease is likely to be more severe in elderly people and in those with a chronic pre-existing condition such as high blood pressure, heart or lung disease, diabetes or a condition that weakens the immune system.

In serious cases, shortness of breath can occur after about a week. In a worst case scenario, the disease can lead to pneumonia, with severe difficulty breathing and other organs being affected.

I have a high temperature and a cough. What should I do?

If you have symptoms like fever and coughing, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) says you must stay at home in order not to infect anyone else. If the symptoms are mild, you can treat yourself.

If you are at particularly high risk of getting seriously ill or if the symptoms get worse, call your doctor. They will decide whether you need to be tested or whether it is enough for you to stay at home and treat yourself.

The FOPH website sets out all the rules on how to behave if you display symptoms.

Who is in the high-risk group?

Those at risk of becoming seriously ill include everyone over the age of 65, smokers and people with the following conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Lung disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Cancer
  • A weakened immune system due to illness or medication
  • Class 3 obesity

Can I go directly to my family doctor to get checked out?

You should contact your doctor immediately – but only by phone to begin with. You can also call the cantonal medical hotline (Ärztetelefon) or a hospital. If you have difficulty breathing, a cough or a high temperature: stay at home or in your hotel. Do not go out in public any more.

How can I get a diagnostic test done?

If you are at particularly high risk of getting seriously ill or if the symptoms get worse, call your doctor. They will decide whether you need to be tested and where you can have this done.


How is the coronavirus treated?

To date, there is no specific treatment directed against the cause of the coronavirus. All that can be done at the moment is to treat and alleviate the symptoms of the disease.

  • In mild cases lasting less than seven days, it is enough to stay at home and do as you would for a normal flu: rest, drink plenty of fluids and perhaps take medication to lower your temperature.
  • Serious cases usually require treatment in an intensive care unit. Under certain circumstances, mechanical ventilation may be necessary.

What should I do if I or someone else in my household displays symptoms of the disease?

Anyone displaying symptoms must isolate themselves to protect others. Please stay at home and minimise your contact with other people, including those who live with you. That way, you can avoid passing the virus on to others. Please take note of the FOPH recommendations on self-isolation and self-quarantine.

I've been placed in quarantine. What's the right way for me to behave?

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) asks you to do the following:

  • If you live alone: have your groceries and any other essential purchases (e.g. medicines) dropped off on your doorstep by family, friends or delivery drivers.
  • Separate yourself from others by confining yourself to one room, keeping the doors closed and taking your meals alone in that room.
  • Avoid all visits and personal contact, and only leave the room when absolutely necessary.
  • Socialise with others via online media or phone.
  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Do not share household items like cutlery, glasses, cups, kitchen utensils, hand towels or bedlinen with anyone else. Clean these items carefully after use in the dishwasher / washing machine or with soap and water.
  • Machine wash your clothes, bedlinen and bath towels regularly.

How long does the risk of infection last if someone I'm in close contact with gets the disease?

We can't yet give a definitive answer to that question. It depends on the individual course of the disease. The latest research by the Robert Koch Institute shows evidence that the virus can remain contagious for up to 18 days after the symptoms first appear.

My medication is running low. What can I do?

Your doctor or pharmacist can tell you whether your medication is currently in short supply. If this is the case, the pharmacist will consult with the doctor treating you to see whether your medication can be substituted by another with the same active ingredient or class of active ingredient.

Please note: The cost of medication is only covered under mandatory healthcare insurance for the medically necessary dosage and if dispensed in quantities consistent with the therapy.


Do I have to pay for the diagnostic test myself?

No. Your doctor will decide whether you need to be tested. If a test is necessary, the Confederation will pay the cost, provided that the FOPH’s criteria are fulfilled.

Does CSS pay for face masks, sanitisers and other preventive products?

No, as these are not benefits that are covered by basic insurance.

Will CSS pay for my treatment?

If you catch the coronavirus, CSS will pay for your treatment as usual through your basic and supplementary insurance. The deductible, retention fee and applicable terms and conditions of insurance will be taken into account.

Risks for others

What are retirement homes doing to combat the risk of infection?

Retirement homes have experience in dealing with viruses and have plans in place for this kind of emergency. Staff are accustomed to following good hygiene practices. 

How at risk are children and pregnant women?

According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), the risk for children appears to be relatively low: they tend to experience milder symptoms than older people.

WHO also states that pregnant women do not seem to be any more susceptible to the disease than other people of the same age.

How great is the risk of pets catching the coronavirus?

We do not have enough evidence at present to answer that question. Coronaviruses can infect various animals, including birds and mammals. However, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) explains that scientists believe the risk to be very small. It is possible for a pet sharing a home with someone who has the coronavirus to become infected or contaminated. However, it is likely that the animals themselves will not display any symptoms.

What should pet owners do if forced to self-isolate because of the coronavirus?

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) calls on all infected pet owners to avoid contact with their pets (cats, dogs, rabbits, etc.) as far as possible. They should ask a healthy person to look after their animals.

If dogs need to go outside, they should be taken out only briefly and kept on a lead. If possible, the person accompanying them should avoid contact with other people and animals. Dogs and cats from a quarantined household do not have to be specially bathed or disinfected. The following rule applies to everyone: wash your hands after contact with an animal.


The health-related information comes from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Robert Koch Institute. The guidance provided here is purely for information purposes and is no substitute for medical advice. If you experience health problems, you should ask your doctor or another medical professional for advice.

Exclusion of liability

The information presented here on the products and benefits of the CSS Group is designed to provide a general overview and is in no way complete. Actual details can be found in the statutory provisions of the Federal Health Insurance Act (KVG), the Federal Insurance Contract Act (VVG), the General Insurance Conditions (AVB), and the Supplementary Conditions (ZB), which determine the obligation of the CSS Group to provide benefits. The information is provided "as is" without any warranty, and is subject to change at any time.

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