Frequently asked questions (FAQ) after close contact with an infected person or after entry from a risk country

1.1 What is a quarantine and what do I have to consider?

In quarantine, you stay at home and avoid contact with other people, including other people in the same household. You may not have any symptoms, but you have had contact with a person who has the disease. Therefore, you could be infected and you could already be contagious.

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1.2 Who must go into quarantine?

Persons who have had close contact with a coronavirus infected person (contact persons, see point 1.3) or who are returning from a country with an increased risk of infection must go into quarantine.

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1.3 Who are contact persons?

Contact persons are defined as persons with close contact to a positive tested person. Close contact means: contact with an infected person for more than 15 minutes, at a distance of less than 1.5 meters and without protection such as a mask or plexiglass wall. Relevant are close contacts 48 hours before onset of symptoms or for individuals without symptoms 48 hours before the test date.

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1.4 How is the duration of my quarantine calculated?

The date of the last contact corresponds to day 1 of your quarantine. Day 10 is the last day of the quarantine. On the following day (=day 11) you may move freely outside again and carry out your usual activities, as far as the current situation and the ordered restrictions allow.

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1.5 Are there exceptions to the travel quarantine?

Exemptions from travel quarantine are regulated in the COVID-19 Ordinance on Measures in the Field of International Passenger Traffic (SR 818.101.27). Requests for exemption can be made using the appropriate form (www.coronavirus.bs.ch/reisemeldung) via epi@bs.ch.

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1.6 I have already been infected with the coronavirus. Do I still have to go into quarantine?

If you have had a confirmed coronavirus infection within the last 6 months, you do not need to be quarantined. 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.

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1.7 Do I have to go in quarantine if I have been vaccinated against Corona?

From the 15th day after your 2nd vaccination, you are exempt from contact and travel quarantine. However, if you enter Switzerland from an area with coronavirus variants of concern, you must go into quarantine despite being vaccinated.

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1.8 Is it possible that my quarantine will be extended?

An extended quarantine may be necessary, for example, if several people in the family or at school or work test positive at different times, or if your child who accompanied you in quarantine suddenly becomes ill with COVID-19.

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1.9 If I have to go into quarantine, will I continue to receive my salary?

Since you have to go into quarantine after close contact with an infected person, you are entitled to compensation for loss of earnings. You can find information about this on the website of the Bundesamt für Sozialversicherungen (BSV) or contact the Office of Economics and Labor (AWA)

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1.10 I had contact with other people. Do they also have to be quarantined?

No, these persons do not have to be quarantined, unless they have ongoing contact with you and cannot separate from you (see point 2.1). However, we recommend for them to take a test in the days following the contact with you. In addition, they should pay special attention to any symptoms of illness in the near future and continue to follow the rules of hygiene and conduct.

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2.1 I am in quarantine and cannot separate from other persons in my household. Do they now also have to be quarantined?

If there are other people living in your household and you are unable to separate from them (e.g. due to space constraints or because you have to take care of your children), they are considered your accompanying persons and must also be quarantined.

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2.2 I have symptoms of illness. How should I proceed?

Get tested as soon as possible, but do not use a self-test since those are not enough accurate. You must remain in isolation until you receive the result. In the event of a positive test result, the responsible cantonal office will contact you and discuss the further procedure with you. Please note that a negative test result does not lead to a shortening of the quarantine period.

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2.3 When am I allowed to leave the apartment during quarantine?

Generally, you are not allowed to leave your apartment during quarantine. You may, of course, leave the apartment for urgent doctor's visits or in medical emergencies. You may also leave the apartment in the following cases - always wear a hygiene mask, disinfect or wash your hands beforehand and avoid any contact with other people:

  • To take out the garbage.
  • To get the mail.
  • To do laundry. In this case, the task should be scheduled with the other residents of the house.

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2.4 Are children under 12 allowed to leave the house for short periods?

Yes, short fresh air episodes for quarantined children are possible, under the condition that no contact to people other than their accompanying person can be guaranteed.

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2.5 Can I walk my dog?

No. The dog should be taken outdoors by family members who are not in quarantine or can be taken outdoors during fresh air episodes (see 2.4). If the whole family is in quarantine, organize friends, acquaintances or a dog walking service to do this for you. They should pick up and drop off the dog at the front door.

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3.1 When should I get tested?

We recommend that you get tested twice:

1st test in the first days of quarantine: this will give you an initial indication of whether you have already been infected with SARS-CoV-2 and you may therefore have infected other people. Please note that a negative result in this test does not shorten the quarantine period. Do not use a self-test for this purpose.

2nd test for quarantine shortening on the 7th day of quarantine: Please note the exact conditions that allow for an early termination of quarantine starting on the 7th day (see 3.3). Do not use a self-test for this purpose.

If symptoms occur, a test is always indicated.

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3.2 Am I obligated to get tested?

No. However, certain measures can only be relaxed by means of testing (e.g. early termination of quarantine, release after proven infection).

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3.3 Who pays for the test?

As of March 15, 2021, the federal government will cover all costs for rapid tests that are performed at a test center, at doctor’s offices, in hospitals or pharmacies. Thus, you can also be tested free of charge if you do not have any symptoms of the coronavirus.

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3.4 When is early termination of quarantine (test & release) possible?

If you do not have any signs of illness compatible with a Covid-19 disease, you can take a PCR or antigen rapid-test. For this purpose, do not use self-tests. You need to get tested at a designated testing site. The earliest date for taking a test in order to end the quarantine is the 7th day of quarantine.

Send the negative test result to epi@bs.ch. You may then leave the quarantine without having to wait for a response from the cantonal medical service.

Until the end of the full 10 days, you are required to wear a mask outside the home with a mandatory minimum distance of 1.5 m from other persons. For children up to their 12th birthday, these measures are recommended according to reasonableness, but are not mandatory. Activities that do not allow compliance with these rules (e.g. certain work activities, school or daycare) may still not be participated in.

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3.5 Why do I have to go into quarantine even though my test result is negative?

A negative test result before the 7th day of quarantine cannot shorten the quarantine p1eriod, because the risk of getting ill is still too high (see 3.1).

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3.6 What is the point of ending quarantine early (test & release) but not being allowed to go to work?

You are allowed to move outside your living space again.

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