Infected persons: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1.1 Why do I have to isolate?

Covid-19 is a contagious disease. Isolation prevents you from passing the virus to other people. Transmission of the coronavirus occurs through close contact with other people. Thus, an isolation order serves to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). If you do not comply with the rules during the period of isolation, you could endanger other people.

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1.2 How is my isolation time calculated?

Your isolation will last for at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms or - if you do not experience any symptoms - from the date of testing. The 1st day of isolation is the day after the first symptoms or - in the absence of symptoms - after the test. If you still experience symptoms after 10 days, the isolation might be extended. A doctor from the cantonal medical service will decide how long the isolation should continue. The following signs of illness do not lead to an extension of the isolation: persistent loss of the sense of smell or taste, fatigue as well as a slight cough.

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1.3 Who can I contact for medical questions?

In case your state of health deteriorates, you should first contact your family doctor. If he or she is not available, contact the Medical Emergency Call Center (Tel. 061 261 15 15), in emergencies contact the ambulance (Tel. 144).

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1.4 Am I immune to the coronavirus after I have been infected?

After infection, there is probably some protection against re-infection. Currently, this protection is assumed to last for 6 months. During this time, you are not obligated to quarantine after a close contact with an infected person or after entering Switzerland from an area with increased risk of infection.

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1.5 What confirmation do I receive from the Department of Public Health Basel-Stadt?

You will receive the following documents:

  • Instructions for isolation
  • Instructions for release

Documents that cannot be issued:

  • Confirmation that you are no longer contagious (e.g. for air travel).
  • Confirmation for the quarantine exemption after infection.

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1.6 Who am I obliged to inform about my infection?

Minors must inform their legal guardians about the isolation order and the corresponding obligations.

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2.1 When will I receive the SwissCovid App Code?

If you test positive, you will receive a code from the Contact Tracing team. If you have not received a code  during the initial Contact Tracing phone call, please contact the Infoline of the Department of Public Health Basel-Stadt (Tel. 061 267 01 90).

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2.2 What does the term “close contact” mean?

"Close contacts" are defined as interactions with others of more than 15 min at a distance of less than 1.5m and without mask protection. Relevant for quarantine are close contacts within the 48h before the onset of symptoms or - in the absence of symptoms - 48h before the date of testing. Individuals who had close contact with a person tested positive for COVID-19 are obligated to quarantine for 10 days.

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2.3 Who is not obligated to quarantine after close contact with an infected person?

Persons who have had a Coronavirus infection in the last 6 months and persons who have been fully vaccinated in the last 6 months are exempted from the obligation to quarantine after close contact. This must be proven with a positive test result from a validated test center or with a vaccination certificate.

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2.4 Do I have to report events that I have attended?

In the conversation with the Contact Tracing, please report the following:  

  • if you had contact with a larger group (school class, soccer team, birthday party, etc.) within the 48h before the onset of symptoms or before the positive test result
  • if you work or have stayed in an environment where there are particularly vulnerable people (e.g. in a nursing home).

This information is particularly important, for thorough investigation may be indicated to prevent further infections.

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2.5 More infections in my environment - what do I do?

Make Contact Tracing aware of possible events with an increased number of positive cases. In these cases, a further investigation is often indicated.

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3. Can children spend the isolation alone?

This decision has to be made by the parents or guardians and depends on the maturity of the child. The child's wellbeing needs to be taken in account and has priority . If a guardian joins a child in isolation, he or she is required to remain in quarantine for an additional 10 days after the child's isolation ends. Please note the exceptions under point 2.3.

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4. How should I behave in isolation?

  • Stay in a room alone with the doors closed and take meals in your room. Ventilate your room regularly.
  • Avoid any visits and contacts and leave the room only when necessary.
  • Wear a hygiene mask and keep a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from other people in the household when you need to leave your room.
  • Avoid all contact with your pets.
  • Use your own bathroom. If this is not possible, disinfect shared sanitary facilities (shower, toilet, sink) after each use.
  • Do not share your household items such as dishes, glasses, cups, or kitchen utensils with other people. Clean these items thoroughly after use with soap and water or in a dishwasher.
  • Do not share towels or bedding with other people.
  • Have food as well as other essential items such as medications delivered to your door by family members, friends or a delivery service.

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5.1 Do I have to be tested again after isolation?

No, you do not have to be tested again after the end of your isolation. Once your isolation has ended(after at least 10 days), you may move freely outside again, as far as the current situation and the ordered restrictions allow. Please note that a PCR test can remain positive for up to 2-3 months and has no informative value regarding infectiousness after your isolation.

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5.2 Do I still have to be quarantined if I had close contact with an infected person or enter Switzerland from an area with an increased risk of infection?

For 6 months after your illness, you do not have to be quarantined after entering Switzerland from a risk area and after having contact with an infected person. You are not exempted from the obligation to quarantine after entering Switzerland from a country with SARS-CoV-2 variants of concern. Therefore, please check the current list of countries with Sars-CoV-2 variants of concern on the FOPH website. The cantonal medical service can decide on exceptions. After 6 months, the standard quarantine regulations apply.

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5.3 Do I have to continue to adhere to the current hygiene and behavioral rules after recovery?

Since re-infection with the coronavirus and its transmission cannot be completely ruled out even after the illness, all safety regulations will continue to apply to you. We therefore ask you to continue to adhere to the distance and hygiene recommendations.

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5.4 Does the mask obligation still apply to me?

Yes, you must continue to comply with the mask requirement.

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5.5 I am planning a (flight) journey and need to present a negative PCR test. Will I receive an immunity confirmation if the test continues to be positive after my illness?

PCR tests can remain positive for several weeks after the illness, even if you are no longer infectious. The letter "End of isolation" is considered proof of the infection that has taken place. Unfortunately, we cannot issue any further confirmation of immunity.

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5.6 Do I have to be counted in the measure "maximum number of people allowed"? (e.g. for meetings of up to 10 people).

Yes, people who have already experienced Covid-19 must also be counted in the maximum group sizes.

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5.7 Do I still have to or may I still be vaccinated against Covid-19?

Vaccination is also recommended for persons who have already contracted the disease, but only 6 months after infection and only one single dose. Since some protection is already assumed for at least 6 months, priority should be given to persons with urgent vaccination indications and without protection.

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