Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Monday

Find out what’s going on in Switzerland today with The Local’s short round-up of the news in less than five minutes.

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
Some Swiss areas are still on alert for avalanches. Photo by AFP

Covid-19 R-rate is growing in parts of Switzerland

After staying below 1 for most of January, the rate R-rate — a measure of the speed at which the disease is spreading — is rising. While the value is not yet above 1 on national level, seven cantons have already exceeded that number: Geneva, Vaud, Fribourg, St.Gallen and the two Appenzells. 

The lowest levels , below 0.8, are registered in Ticino, Uri and Obwalden.

Health authorities want to keep the R-rate below 1. If it is greater than 1, each infected individual contaminates more than one person on average. Then the daily number of cases increases exponentially. But if the number is lower, the daily count drops.

Many people in Switzerland are exempted from France’s new Covid testing rule

New border restrictions for entry to France go into effect on February 1st.

Travellers from abroad — including both EU and non-EU nations — must present a recent negative Covid-19 test and also carry a “declaration of honour” or sworn statement that they don't have any symptoms.

But some residents of Switzerland, particularly those living in border areas — such as Geneva, Vaud, Jura, and Basel — will be able to forego this requirement under certain conditions.

Basically cross-border workers, lorry driver and anyone who lives within 30 km of the French border are exempt from having to provide a test.

The Local will write a full report on this news story on Monday.

Photo by AFP

People who break Covid-19 rules to be fined

Anyone who violates a coronavirus measure in Switzerland from Monday is liable for a fine of between 50 and 200 francs, depending on the offence.

A fine can be imposed for not wearing a mask on public transportation, in train stations and at bus stops, or in publicly accessible facilities.

The police can also issue a ticket if someone takes part in illegal events or organizes such an event in public or private.

Avalanche danger remains in some Swiss regions

Although road and rail traffic resumed in many parts of Switzerland following heavy snowfall over the past few days, the risk of avalanches remains high in the Alps today. 

Avalanches have been particularly deadly in Switzerland this year, having claimed 14 lives so dar — well above the average yearly figure of high people.

Avalanches have caused casualties in the mountains of Valais, Vaud, Graubünden, Obwalden and Schwytz.

What changes in Switzerland in February?

The start of a new month brings with it some small but significant changes in Switzerland that readers should know about. 

We will publish a full run down of the main changes in February later on Monday so keep an eye on the website.

if you have any questions or feedback don't hesitate to contact us at [email protected]





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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Same-sex marriage becomes legal, the number of Covid cases is underestimated, and other news from Switzerland on Friday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday

Same-sex couples can marry — at last

Today, July 1st, is a historic day for gay couples wishing to wed: they finally have that right in Switzerland.

After the Swiss voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a nationwide referendum on September 26th, 2021, the new law is entering into force today.

These couples will also be able to convert their registered partnership — which did not provide the same rights as marriage, including for obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children — into a legal marriage.

READ MORE: Same-sex couples can marry from July 1st in Switzerland

Other laws and rules that are being implemented from July 2022 are detailed here:

Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2022

Number of current Covid cases in Switzerland is underestimated

This week, 33,108 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Switzerland in a span of seven days, an increase of 34 percent over the previous week.

However, health officials believe the real number of new infections is much higher. That’s because, judging by how many antigen or PCR tests have been done during this period of time, only a small portion of the infected population actually gets screened; most positive cases are therefore not detected.

Swiss health officials already said that 15 percent of Swiss population — more than 1 million people — could catch the Omicron virus (or its sub-variants) this summer.

On the positive side, “the situation is a little better” now than during the Delta variant wave, according to Tanja Stadler, former head of the Covid-19 Task Force, who also said that, despite the increase in cases, Swiss healthcare system will not be overloaded.

READ MORE: ‘Over a million people’ in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

Heavy traffic on many Swiss roads this weekend

With several cantons beginning their school summer holidays this weekend, bottlenecks are expected to slow down traffic within Switzerland as well as on motorways and in tunnels leading to neighbour countries.

These roads are usually most congested during high-volume times like the start of holidays:

  • The A3/A1 Basel-Zurich axis
  • The A3/A13 Zurich-Chur-San Bernardino-Bellinzona-Chiasso axis, particularly near Chur and the San Bernardino tunnel
  • Bern and surroundings (A1/A12/A6 interchange)
  • The A9 Lausanne-Montreux-Martigny-Brigue mainly near Lausanne and Montreux
  • The Martigny – Grand-St.-Bernard tunnel axis

READ MORE: What you should know about driving in Switzerland — and abroad — this summer

Switzerland and France will be linked together

A bridge is to be built between Basel and Huningue, a town in Alsace – the first Rhine bridge connecting Switzerland and France.

On Thursday, Swiss officials, along with their counterparts from France, and Germany — the two countries that border Basel —signed an agreement for the project to start in 2025, and unveiled the plans for the new connection across the river.

“A new bridge over the Rhine is central to growing together and mobility in the three countries”, officials said.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local, please get in touch with us at [email protected]