SwissCovid app

Known as SwissCovid, it’s a proximity tracing app designed to break chains of transmission and prevent a second wave of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

It works by showing you a notification if you came into contact with someone who was infected with the virus but wasn’t showing symptoms and hadn’t tested positive at the time.


About the app

The “pilot phase” to which EPFL staff could take part is over. Since 25 June 2020, the app can be downloaded from Google Play Store and Apple App Store

The app uses your phone’s Bluetooth Low Energy mode. It doesn’t use the built-in GPS system. It works by detecting nearby devices and measuring how far away they are. If your phone stays within 1.5 meter of another device with the app, they exchange ephemeral and anonymous identification numbers.

If you feel symptoms that could be related to COVID-19, you are advised to start by using the “corona-check” tool provided by the Federal office of public health. 

If you’re diagnosed with COVID-19, you will receive a unique 12-digit code. You’ll be asked to enter this in the app, but there’s no obligation for you to do so. Once you’ve entered it, the anonymous identification numbers linked to your device will be added to a list on a server managed by the Swiss administration.

Your app will regularly connect to the server. If it recognizes an ephemeral identification number from a device that you’ve been in prolonged contact with, it will generate a notification asking you to phone the infoline run by the Swiss Federal Office for Public Health.

You’ll be asked a series of questions to determine whether you’re likely to have been infected. For instance, if you can establish that you were wearing a mask when you were in prolonged contact with an infected person, the risk of infection will be considered low. If not, you’ll be asked to self-isolate.

The School will allow you to self-isolate if you need to. If you’re asked to do so, please let the Security, Prevention and Health Domain (DSPS) know. They’ll decide whether anyone else needs to self-isolate, or whether particular areas of the campus need to be disinfected.

Google and Apple have released special updates for their Android and iOS operating systems. The app will only work if you can install the relevant update on your phone. It should be compatible with smartphones less than four years old.