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

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 Tuesday
BNegative Covid test is needed if you want to go shopping in Lombardy. Photo by AFP

SWISS airline reduces number of lights from Geneva

Switzerland’s national carrier announced that it is limiting the number of flights from Geneva “to the strict minimum” until the end of February.

The cuts are due to coronavirus-linked travel restrictions.

Unlike the Zurich airport, Geneva “doesn’t currently have the infrastructure allowing the performance of Covid tests”, the airline said.

However, SWISS will continue to operate 13 weekly flights between Geneva and Zurich, from where passengers will be able to connect to international destinations.

Photo by AFP


Switzerland’s rate of Covid vaccinations is above the European average.

Just over 3 percent of Switzerland’s population had received the vaccine, compared to 2.89 percent in Europe.

This places Switzerland in the in 9th place out of 27 nations surveyed, ahead of its neighbours Italy, Germany and Austria (figures for France were not available at the time of the survey at the end of January).

Switzerland is ahead of most European countries despite the shortage of doses due to delays in supply.

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Migros opens the first ’unsupervised’ branch in Switzerland

The country’s largest supermarket chain opened a shop without any employees, the so-called Voi Cube, in Grenchen, canton Solothurn. Customers can access the shop via a personal QR code that is generated by an app, then shop and check out using a hand sensor.

The shop offers around 500 items and works entirely without staff. It is the first of its kind in Switzerland.

“The shop will be open around the clock, including on public holidays. “Customers are increasingly demanding the flexibility they already know from online retail”, said Migros spokesperson Andrea Bauer.

Italy still requires negative test from Swiss arrivals

Lombardy, the Italian region that borders the Swiss canton of Ticino, passed from the orange to yellow zone on Monday, meaning that its coronavirus risk in now lower. (Under Italy’s classification system, red marks the highest risk, orange is medium, and yellow is lowest).

But those who want to go to Lombardy for tourism or shopping can’t cross the border without a negative Covid test taken in the past 48 hours.

The only travellers exempted from the test are those who go to Italy for a period not exceeding 120 hours for “proven work, health or absolute emergency”. The exemption also applies to people transiting through Italy for up to 36 hours.

When in Italy, moving between regions is prohibited.



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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?