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‘Hundreds’ to attend coronavirus conspiracy rally in Zurich

An estimated 500 people are set to attend a ‘coronavirus skeptic’ rally in Zurich in late August after the demonstration received police approval.

‘Hundreds’ to attend coronavirus conspiracy rally in Zurich
Coronavirus protests in Bern. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The rally, to take place on August 29th at Helvetiaplatz in Zurich, will be attended by several groups who are skeptical about the pandemic and/or who oppose the current lockdown measures.

While 500 supporters are expected, counter protesters have also announced their intention to attend. 

The groups who have indicated their intention to attend include “Friends of the Constitution”, “Network Vaccination Decision” and “Citizens' Forum Switzerland”. 

Patrick Jetzer, one of the rally organisers, told Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes that the diverse groups were united by their feelings on the virus and the government’s lockdown measures. 

“The participants in the demonstration do not position themselves politically on the left or on the right, conservative or liberal. Different people will join us.”

Jetzer compared the virus to the flu. 

IN PICTURES: Inside Switzerland's anti-coronavirus lockdown protests 

“The rally is important because we are defending ourselves against the restrictions on our rights to freedom,” he said. 

“If you look at the mortality from Corona, it is in a similar range to that of a stronger flu epidemic. We therefore see no justification for such restrictions as those issued by the Federal Council.”

“There are studies that show that the masks are counterproductive.

“Masks are not hygienic to wear in public. Any use of masks can only be proven for operating theatres and laboratories.

Jetzer did not indicate which studies he was referring to. 

The death rate with covid-19 is roughly ten times higher than that of the flu, while the official Swiss federal task force find that “wearing a protective mask reduces the risk of infecting others and yourself.”

Police approved the rally, saying that it was difficult to know how many would actually be in attendance. 

“So far, at least in similar demonstrations in the city, we have seen that there have been a few hundred, sometimes a few dozen”

Counter protesters set to attend

While 500 supporters are expected, counter protesters have also said publicly they will attend the rally. 

The Antifacist Action group of Zurich said it will encourage its members and supporters to attend “to show that coronavirus conspiracy theorists are not welcome in Switzerland”. 

 

 

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HEALTH

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad
 

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