The SwissCovid app has been available to users for one year
Bern, 24.06.2021 - One year ago on 25 June 2020, Switzerland became one of the first countries to introduced a proximity tracing app, the SwissCovid app. After one year, the FOPH is taking stock of what has been achieved so far and also looking to the future. Up to approximately two million people actively use the SwissCovid app. This allows them to help interrupt chains of infection and means they can be alerted more quickly about any risk of infection. Users thus make a key contribution to combating the pandemic.
On 27 June 2020 (two days after its release), the SwissCovid app had been downloaded 1.19 million times – the app has now been installed by 3.18 million people. It was the most downloaded app in Switzerland in 2020. A rapid increase has also been observed in the number of users. Up to 2 million people actively use the SwissCovid app, with the current number of active users standing at 1.7 million.
Effectiveness of proximity tracing apps
From an epidemiological perspective, it was important to find out during the initial phase whether the number of calls received by the Infoline following alerts issued by the app correlated with the number of cases. In other words, whether enough people were being warned by the app. Based on these investigations, the threshold values that are used to estimate distance were adjusted, thus increasing effectiveness.
As early as autumn 2020, it was possible to show on the basis of medical reporting forms that symptom-free individuals had got themselves tested after being issued an alert by the app and received a positive result. The fact that these positively tested individuals went into isolation allowed for chains of infection to be interrupted at an early stage. Due to the stringent data protection requirements, it is not possible to ascertain how many people have received a warning. What is known, however, is the number of covidcodes entered in the app: at present, 83,117 covidcodes have been entered, which in turn triggered warnings to be issued to other users.
Continual further development of the SwissCovid app
Since being launched on 25 June 2020, the SwissCovid app has been developed further on an ongoing basis. This is true as regards both the user interface and the technical aspects running in the background. Among other things, a system adaptation to Apple’s operating system means that the SwissCovid app can now also be accessed by iPhone users with older devices. During the second wave in autumn 2020, it became apparent that the generation of covidcodes was pushing the cantonal authorities to their limits in terms of capacity. To ease the burden on them, doctors who perform tests as well as pharmacies, test centre staff and employees of the SwissCovid Infoline were authorised to issue covidcodes. The legal basis was also adjusted in order to enable interoperability with the German Corona-Warn-App, a development from which approximately 60,000 cross-border commuters, in particular, have been able to benefit since March 2020.
Work is currently under way on an extension to the SwissCovid app that will make it possible to inform even more people about a risk of infection in an anonymous and uncomplicated manner. Notifications from the SwissCovid app are sent out quickly and are intended to motivate people to get tested for the coronavirus.
Address for enquiries
Federal Office of Public Health, Communications, Coronavirus Infoline +41 58 463 00 00
Federal Office of Public Health