Policy Briefs (EN)

The Expert Groups of the Swiss National COVID-19 Science Task Force address urgent issues regarding the COVID-19 crisis in Policy Briefs, which are discussed and approved by the Advisory Panel and 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.


Beurteilung der Lage, 23. Oktober 2020

Abbildung zur Intensivbetten Kapazität

Beurteilung der Lage, 16. Oktober 2020

This document defines the test methods and minimum requirements for Swiss mask manufacturers. This update also contains recommendations for the use of community masks.

This policy brief clarifies differences between mask types, respective norms and certification processes for masks currently available in Switzerland.

This Policy Brief addresses the legal basis in the context of the fight against the epidemic, in order to ask contact persons about the use of the SwissCovid App.

Description and evaluation of the situation on 9. October 2020.

Given that SARS-CoV-2 is likely going to be circulating during influenza season, this Policy Brief discusses which strategies need to be in place and why they are important in order to protect risk groups.

This Policy Brief discusses immune responses (antibodies, T cells) against SARS-CoV-2 and if they confer protection against re-infection.

This policy brief explains that an 'infection strategy' ('Durchseuchung') would lead to major damage in health, economy and society.

This Policy brief identifies how the government can support investment activities of companies and in that way foster the recovery of the economy and structural change.

This policy brief discusses therapeutic options for COVID-19 and their effects in reducing COVID-19-associated mortality.

This Policy Brief presents the current state of the international evidence on the economic costs and benefits of fighting the pandemic, the so-called health-wealth trade-off.

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).

Study Selection Process


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.

This policy brief analyzes 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.

This rapid review identifies the risk factors for hospitalization, ICU admission, development of severe disease and mortality in patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

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.

This policy brief discusses measures for dealing with travellers arriving in Switzerland and measures to reduce the risks of imported COVID-19.

Le infezioni da SARS-CoV-2 in Svizzera stanno aumentando a un ritmo allarmante. La Task Force Scientifica Nazionale per il Covid-19 fornisce alla popolazione, alle organizzazioni e alle autorità raccomandazioni urgenti per un'azione immediata.

This document focuses on the problem of non-conforming face masks and provides specific recommendations to actors in the Swiss supply chain.

This policy brief reviews the evidence for the benefits of wearing face masks in community settings for reducing the spread of SARS-CoV-2.

This document discusses strategies to react to a possible increase in the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections in Switzerland.

In the current version typos and hyperlinks have been corrected.

The first version from 30 june 2020

This policy brief introduces the concept of a labor market “epidemic” curve to measure the amount of “excess” job search in the labor market, where excess refers to job search that occurs above normal conditions.

In diesem Policy Brief wird die Bedeutung der Real-Time-Sequenzierung und der phylogenetischen Analyse bei der COVID-19 Überwachung diskutiert.

More information about Nextstrain

This document discusses other aspects of the use of masks and the importance of Aeresol transmission.

This document examines the psychological effects of confinement and deconfinement

This policy brief discusses the risks of SARS-CoV-2 for healthcare workers and presents possible solutions.

This document describes the basic principles of care for the very elderly and people with health problems in the context of the Sars-CoV-2 epidemic and Covid-19 disease.

Due to new scientific evidence, the content of this policy brief has been updated. The version from May 20th 2020

This policy brief discusses the importance of seasonal/ climatic factors in the transmission of SARS-Cov-2.

This policy brief discusses the strategy that Switzerland should adopt to control the spread of the virus until a vaccine or effective treatment becomes available.

This policy brief identifies ways to achieve widespread and uniform testing
across 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.

This policy brief discusses options to repay the government debt resulting from the Covid-19 crisis.

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

This Policy Brief discusses gender aspects of COVID19 and pandemic response.

This Policy Brief discusses the social costs and benefits of the Testing, Isolating, Tracing and Quarantining (TITQ) strategy.

This document discusses the ethical, legal, and social aspects of Test-trace-isolate-quarantine strategies. It complements the Policy Brief “SARS-CoV-2 Contact tracing strategy: epidemiological and strategic considerations». 

This document examines the ethical, legal, and social aspects associated with the continued confinement of those most vulnerable to COVID-19.

This document gives an assessment of the possible consequences of the relaxation of 11 May for the development of COVID-19 case numbers in Switzerland.

This policy brief discusses risk factors associated with hospitalization, ICU admission, and mortality in the context of COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 infection

This document lists ongoing studies on vaccines and treatment of COVID-19 in Switzerland and beyond.

This policy brief examines the implications of public matching payments for commercial rent abatements during the COVID-19 crisis.

Dieses Dokument beschreibt die von der Task Force entwickelten Konzepte und Vorschläge zur Lockerung der Massnahmen gegen die COVID-19-Epidemie in der Schweiz.

Appendix 1 (Email from Lukas Bruhin)
Appendix 2 (Recommendations)
Appendix 3 (ELSI Policy Brief)
Appendix 4 (Analysis Sotomo)
Appendix 5 (Presentation International)

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.

This document summarizes the main ethical, legal and social benchmarks for transition strategies.

This policy brief provides recommendation for healthcare facilities in Switzerland for sterilizing protection  FFP masks following the norm EN149 (FFP1‐3, N95, or equivalent) with vapor  hydrogen peroxide.

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.

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.

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

This document summarizes 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.

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

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

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

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.

This living systematic review discusses the role of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 who have an asymptomatic infection.

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

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.