On 26 March 2020, Switzerland’s federal government announced the number of Covid-19 tests conducted so far in Switzerland.
South Korea, a nation often cited among those with high test rates, now trails Switzerland on the number per capita tests it has conducted.
However, there are significant differences in how the two countries have approached testing. South Korea tested earlier, more preemptively and included significant numbers of suspected cases. In Switzerland, testing has been more reactive and focused on high risk highly symptomatic individuals. Many in Switzerland with symptoms remain untested. Many others in close contact with untested symptomatic people have not been tested either.
These differences in testing are reflected in the test results. South Korea has conducted 364,942 tests but only discovered 9,241 cases, 3% of those tested. On the other hand Switzerland’s 91,400 tests have discovered 10,714 cases, 14% of those tested.
This means South Korea’s 9,241 case number is likely to be far more complete than Switzerland’s figure, which is likely to be heavily understated and far from the actual number of people infected.