2. Protecting oneself and others

Although the SARS-CoV-2 virus continues to circulate, the population has developed antibodies through vaccination or infection. In 2023, the COVID situation is normalising. COVID is now part of our daily lives, like other respiratory viruses, and we know how to deal with it.


Primary vaccination and booster shots are effective in protecting against severe forms of COVID-19 and against hospitalisation. This means that the vaccine provides moderate protection against COVID-19 infection as such. Even if you are vaccinated, it is still possible to catch COVID-19. With the vaccine, the COVID symptoms will be reduced. Vaccination is therefore the first measure to be taken to protect oneself, especially for vulnerable people.

Trio of good habits

It is still strongly recommended to apply the trio of good habits. Easy and affordable, they help to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 and other viruses, such as influenza.

Hand hygiene

Promote hand hygiene with soap and water or hydroalcoholic gel.

Regular airing

Good ventilation of enclosed spaces helps reduce the risk of airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and other viruses and bacteria. Ventilation also promotes mental performance and general well-being. It is recommended to properly air enclosed spaces, regularly and sufficiently, ideally twice an hour for 5 minutes.

Wearing a mask

Wear a mask if you have symptoms or when you feel it is necessary (e.g. in crowded, poorly ventilated areas).


In case of symptoms or a positive test

Switzerland no longer has any isolation or quarantine measures for COVID-19. However, COVID-19 remains a contagious disease and it is important to follow certain recommendations to avoid transmitting the disease to other people, especially vulnerable people.

It is therefore advisable to:

  • Carefully apply the good reflexes: hand hygiene, ventilation, wearing a mask.
  • If you have severe symptoms, if the symptoms worsen or if you are worried about your condition: make an appointment with your doctor, go to the emergency services or call 144.
  • If you have symptoms that prevent you from going to work: consult your general practitioner. 
  • If possible, work from home, in agreement with your employer.
  • Notify vulnerable persons with whom you have been in contact (during the symptoms and up to 2 days before). These people should consult their doctor if they develop symptoms themselves. 
  • Do not visit a vulnerable person (at least for 5-7 days after your symptoms have started).
  • Avoid shaking hands and hugging.
  • Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
  • After use, dispose of paper tissues in a wastebasket and wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.


You are not a vulnerable person

Testing is no longer recommended. Even if you have symptoms, it is no longer necessary.

You are in contact with or you live with vulnerable people

  • Minimise contact within the home (e.g. avoid eating meals together, or sleeping in the same room for the duration of the symptoms).
  • Wear a mask when in the same room (both you and the vulnerable person).
  • Clean surfaces regularly.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Air the room regularly.

You are a vulnerable person

Contact your general practitioner as soon as possible for appropriate treatment. Depending on your state of health and if you agree, your doctor may decide to carry out a test and possibly prescribe a treatment.

Who is a vulnerable person ?

  • People aged 65 and over
  • Pregnant women
  • People aged 16 and over with Down's syndrome
  • People aged 16 and over with certain chronic diseases:
    • high blood pressure
    • cardiovascular diseases
    • diabetes
    • lung and respiratory diseases
    • immune deficiency due to disease or treatment
    • cancer
    • obesity (BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2)
    • kidney failure
    • cirrhosis of the liver 

Post-COVID-19 condition

The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines post-COVID-19 condition (post-COVID symptoms or long COVID) as the presence of symptoms 3 months or more after a COVID infection, with symptoms persisting for at least 2 months, that cannot be explained by another disease.

The most common symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, concentration difficulties and other symptoms that affect daily life.

You will find all relevant information on the interactive RAFAEL platform (in French) of the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG), as well as on the Federal office of public health (FOPH) website.

Last updated
17 April 2023

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