3. What type of test and for what situation?
Today, several types of tests are used and available in testing centres or drugstores.
PCR tests are used in testing centres in Geneva.
The sample is taken by means of a nasopharyngeal smear (cotton swab in the nose) or a pharyngeal smear (cotton swab in the throat). More rarely, a saliva sample may be taken. The result of a PCR test is usually available within 24 to 48 hours.
Since 2 November 2020, rapid or antigen tests are authorised in Switzerland to detect a coronavirus infection. They are used in testing centres in Geneva but also in some drugstores.
The sample is taken by means of a nasopharyngeal smear (cotton swab in the nose) or pharyngeal smear (cotton swab in the throat).
The result is available within 15 to 20 minutes.
Antigen or rapid tests have the advantage of providing a result within 15 to 20 minutes but are less accurate. They are therefore not recommended for vulnerable people or healthcare workers. They are recommended especially if symptoms have been present for less than 4 days. Some airlines and countries sometimes also accept them for travellers, as do some employers.