Switzerland

Covid tests to remain free for Geneva’s students

Last week, the Federal Council mandated Covid certificates for entry into universities and other tertiary educational institutions, catching many by surprise.

UNIGE – source: Wikipedia

For the unvaccinated or unrecovered the only way to obtain a Covid certificate is by testing. But test-based Covid certificates expire quickly requiring tests to be regularly repeated. This is a hassle but currently cost free because test costs are covered by the federal government. However, the government announced some time ago that they would stop paying for tests on 1 October 2021.

This means that when Covid certificates were introduced as a requirement to enter educational institutions, unvaccinated or unrecovered students were faced with the prospect of paying for their tests. In addition, the window for getting vaccinated was too narrow to get fully vaccinated in time to avoid paying for tests.

A work around solution has been found in Geneva: free saliva tests. Twenty samples are pooled and tested. If the pooled sample comes back positive then each of the twenty are tested separately. Vaud has decided to follow Geneva and offer similar free saliva tests to fill the gap left by the federal government’s decision to stop free testing on 1 October 2021.

In Geneva, pooled free saliva tests will be offered until the end of 2021. In Vaud the scheme will last only until the end of October 2021.

According to Mauro Poggia, regular testing is not a long term solution but rather a stop gap until students get vaccinated. In addition, negative saliva test results will not be added to Covid certificates. They will only permit access to places of education.

More on this:
20 Minutes article (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now

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