Policy Briefs​

The experts of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force address urgent issues regarding the COVID-19 crisis in Policy Briefs, which are published on our website. They reflect the thinking of the Taskforce on this topic at that time. If required, the policy briefs are updated in the light of new studies or other data.

14 Sep 2021

Preparing for the academic year 2021-22 in academic institutions

Populated by crowds of young, mobile people gathered in closed spaces for extended periods of time, academic institutions represent a potentially propitious setting for the spread of Sars-CoV-2 both during academic and extracurricular activities.

25 Jun 2021

Protection duration after vaccination or infection

Recent studies have characterized the decay kinetics of SARS-CoV-2 specific B and T cell responses after vaccination or infection. They estimate that neutralizing antibody IgG titers decrease with a half-life of around 100 days, while T cell responses seem to be longer lived with a half-life or around 150 days.

19 feb 2021

Requirements and Scope of Digital Certificates

The transition away from the global pandemic situation may lead to new public health approaches aimed at allowing a fast restart of the economic and social life while controlling the risk transmission of Sars-CoV-2.

11 Feb 2021

Assessment of different strategies of quarantine

Currently, individuals who have been in close contact with a confirmed SARS-CoV-2 case are obliged to go into quarantine until 10 days after the presumed last exposure (here referred to as strategy 0).

04 Feb 2021

Responses to Corona denial

Over the pandemic second wave, trust in authorities’ decisions is lower than in Spring 2020 and social consensus on how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic has eroded over the summer.

20 Jan 2021

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health in Switzerland

In light of the results of the third survey of the Swiss Corona Stress Study, referring to the period from 11 to 19 November 2020, during which 11,612 people from all over Switzerland participated, we are updating the policy brief on the mental health consequences of the pandemic.

20 Jan 2021

Assessment of measures in schools​

The issue of operating schools in the pandemic is very complex. From kindergarten and primary school through higher education, the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 vary widely, as do educational, social, and health-related (both physical and mental) concerns.

07 Jan 2021

Masks as an essential good?

Masks are recommended where social distancing cannot be respected, and mandatory in certain enclosed spaces such as public transport, as well as schools, and shops in certain cantons. They are protective of the wearer and especially of others, and as such are part of the bundle of measures needed to keep the COVID19 pandemic under control.

10 Nov 2020

Support to businesses in the second COVID-19 wave 1

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic raises additional challenges for businesses in sectors that are affected by non-pharmaceutical policy interventions and/or by collapsing consumer and intermediate demand. Wages continue to be compensated through well-established policy instruments. However, since the discontinuation of the Covid-19 bridging credits in July, no policy tool has so far been activated to support affected businesses with respect to their fixed capital costs.

10 Nov 2020

Scalability and Efficacy Considerations for Test-Trace-Isolate-Quarantine (TTIQ)

The TTIQ strategy aims at identifying index cases through testing, tracing their contacts as well as potential clusters that are potentially the source of their infection, and to isolate cases and quarantine contacts. Based on lessons from the start of the second wave, we make 8 recommendations aimed at ensuring the scalability and efficacy of TTIQ in Switzerland.

29 Oct 2020

An update on SARS-CoV-2 detection tests

This fact sheet describes how SARS-CoV-2 was identified and isolated and provides an update on virus detection tests currently utilized in Switzerland.

12 Aug 2020

The role of children and adolescents (0-18 years of age) in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2

This document is a rapid systematic review and meta-analysis of the role of children (0-18 years) in the transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and is an update of the previous policy brief on the same topic. In this updated version more emphasis was placed on trying to distinguish the situation of children (0-12 years of age) from that of adolescents (13-16 years) and young adults (>16 years).

22 Jul 2020

Communication and SARS-CoV-2

To inform about and guide appropriate behaviors by the population, effective communication strategies must be integrated into the pandemic response. This document explains, why effective communication is critical, what the current priorities for communication are, and what factors influence message receptivity and behavioral compliance by the population.

10 Jul 2020

Digital Proximity Tracing – The View from Economics

This policy brief analyses private costs, private benefits and public benefits from the digital proximity tracing app use, and make recommendations for public information around the app. In this updated version, section 3.4 was slightly re-worded to avoid the potential misunderstanding of what the authors call “active choice” solution.

23 Jun 2020

Zukunft der Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force

The National Covid-19 Science Task Force (ncs-tf) was mandated by the Federal Council Coronavirus Crisis Unit KSBC, the FOPH and the SERI to provide scientific perspectives for decision-making during the SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 crisis. Here we focus on the future role of ncs-tf after the transition from extraordinary to special situation and the related dissolution of the crisis unit in June 2020.

15 May 2020

Digital Proximity Tracing

This document describes proximity tracing in more detail, specifically with respect to the proximity tracing app planned in Switzerland.

13 May 2020

Comparison of Sweden and Switzerland

There is a lot of interest in the approach to COVID-19 taken by Sweden. In this Policy Brief we compare the measures taken to control the epidemic in the two countries after May 11 2020 , as well as relevant epidemiologic and economic indicators.

26 Apr 2020

Contact Tracing Strategy

This policy brief summarizes: the rationale for contact tracing and for quarantine of contacts; differences between classic person-based contact tracing and digital proximity tracing; the role of virological testing; and social and ethical considerations.

24 Apr 2020

Contact tracing costs

This document looks at the economic costs of contact tracing in relation to its potential benefits.

22 Apr 2020

Ethics of serological passports

This document examines the ethical, legal, and social aspects of serological passports. It discusses possible limitations and highlights important aspects to be considered in advance.

21 Apr 2020

Effect of measures

This document discusses the effect of the governmental measures on the epidemic dynamics of COVID-19 in Switzerland.

20 Apr 2020

Role of masks

This document summarises the findings on facemasks as a non-pharmaceutical intervention against infections due to respiratory viruses. reMask is an expert group working to provide for Switzerland evidence-based information and propose innovative solutions around the use and production of face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

20 Apr 2020

Role of phylogeny

This document elaborates on how phylogenetic analyses can be used to contribute to the epidemiological and evolutionary understanding of SARS-CoV-2.

20 Apr 2020

Role of serology

This policy brief reviews the potentials and limitations of serological testing in Switzerland and outlines the priorities for future research.

13 Apr 2020

Usefulness of temperature screening

This document describes why temperature screening is not useful as a stand-alone measure. It also emphasizes the importance of the motivation for testing.

11 Apr 2020

Proposal transition strategy

This document describes the concepts and proposals developed by the Task Force to ease the measures against the COVID-19 epidemic in Switzerland.

10 Apr 2020

Modellierung Szenarien

This document briefly explains possible modelling options to illustrate the effects of the relaxation of control measures against the COVID-19 epidemic in Switzerland, which came into force on 26 April.

8 Apr 2020

Recommendations storage of masks

This document summarises the recommendations of the Task Force for healthcare facilities on the storage of FFP (Filtering Facepiece Particles) face masks.

27 Mar 2020

Analysis of Swiss Epidemic as of 27 March 20

This document presents the first descriptive analysis and modelling of the Swiss epidemic based on FOPH’s data on daily-confirmed COVID-19 cases by canton, age and sex and the daily number of negative tests.

As the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force has been disbanded as of 31 March 2022, no further epidemiological assessments, scientific updates or policy briefs will be published in the future. All previous publications, pages and information of the Science Task Force remain available on this website.