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

Swiss Med Wkly. 2020 Mar 19:150:w20225. doi: 10.4414/smw.2020.20225. eCollection 2020 Mar 9.


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.

MeSH terms

  • Betacoronavirus
  • COVID-19
  • Contact Tracing*
  • Coronavirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Coronavirus Infections / epidemiology
  • Coronavirus Infections / prevention & control*
  • Disease Outbreaks / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening
  • Patient Isolation*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / diagnosis*
  • Pneumonia, Viral / epidemiology
  • Pneumonia, Viral / prevention & control*
  • Public Health Surveillance*
  • Quarantine
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Switzerland / epidemiology