The rescue helicopter does not have to be modified for a mission of this kind, but when transporting contagious patients, the crews need to take special precautionary measures, protect themselves accordingly and disinfect the equipment after the mission. Moreover, the cabin of all of Rega’s helicopters is large enough to conduct such transports safely. Over the last few days, Rega crews have completed special training courses in preparation for an increase in such transports.
Rega is prepared for various scenarios. Thanks to its twelve helicopter bases spread throughout Switzerland, Rega’s Operations Centre is able to deploy several crews from different Rega bases in the event of an increase in such missions in a particular region. Furthermore, additional crews and rescue helicopters can be ready for action if necessary. In addition, all our crews have again undergone special training for the transport of contagious patients.
Rega’s ambulance jets are reserved for transporting patients. Therefore, non-infected, healthy persons who wish to return to Switzerland cannot be repatriated by Rega.
Swiss citizens who find themselves in this position should contact their travel agency or airline direct. More information on what to do in these situations can be found on the website of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA):
Rega helps whenever it can. Whether repatriation is medically indicated and sensible is decided by our experienced medical consultants at the Rega Operations Centre.
In the event of medical problems abroad, you, as a patron, can request help around the clock via the emergency number +41 333 333 333. Our flight coordinators and medical consultants will advise and help you – for example, with finding the nearest suitable clinic abroad or if you have language problems. Rega can fundamentally only repatriate ill or injured people after they have been hospitalised in the foreign country.
In principle, Rega operates worldwide. However, there are always reasons – such as armed conflicts, pandemics and other events – that make it impossible to fly to certain countries for safety reasons. Before every jet mission, Rega’s Operations Centre examines the various options available and looks for the best and safest solution for the patient and crew.