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

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
Fines are handed out for non-compliance with Covid rules. Photo by AFP
Find out what's going on in Switzerland today with The Local's short round-up of the news.

Hundreds of fines handed out for breaking Covid-19 rules

In the past two weeks, ever since the government started to impose penalties for failure to comply with coronavirus measures, cantons have issued hundreds of fines for coronavirus-related offences on their territories.

For example, the police in the canton of Zurich imposed around 100 fines in the first week of February alone. Vaud handed out 106 fines, while in Geneva, Valais and Thurgau, between 30 and 40 fines were issued in the first days of February.

The Local will publish an article today about this issue.

Swiss government urged to end shutdown

The Federal Council is under increasing pressure to relax the restrictions taken to combat the spread of the coronavirus. 

Health Ministers of various cantons are urging authorities to reopen restaurants and non-essential businesses, as the Covid infection rate in Switzerland is declining.

After saying previously that the restrictions likely won’t be lifted on February 28th, as originally planned, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset indicated that the Federal Council hadn’t ruled out a relaxation of at least some of the existing measures.

“The Federal Council understands the frustration in the population. The Federal Council would also like to see easing, that's clear,” he said.

The government will draw up the measures this week, after consulting with the cantons.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Is a lockdown extension inevitable in Switzerland?


Switzerland lags behind in health-related digitisation

The coronavirus crisis has brought to light Switzerland's delay in digitising the health sector.

Various gaps exist in this area, experts say. Among them are the faxes that some doctors and hospitals still used at the start of the pandemic to transmit data.

“There are also endless Excel files, confusing websites, problems registering people who want to be vaccinated, or even the coordination of available beds in the country”, said Andreas Wicht, an expert in medical technology

Medical informatics experts are calling the situation “frightening”, urging the authorities to upgrade the system, especially as “there are so many technology providers in Switzerland, and the know-how is here”.

Shutdown is ‘toxic’ to mental health, new Swiss study shows

Almost one in five people in Switzerland suffer from severe depression as a result of the pandemic. The percentage of people reporting stress spikes was 11 percent during the containment in April, and rose to nearly 20 percent percent during the second wave in November.

The “Swiss Corona Stress Study” reveals that the phenomenon is more marked among young people. Some 29 percent of 14-24 year olds and 21 percent of 25-34 year olds report severe depressive symptoms. By contrast, among those over 65, only 6 percent show symptoms of depression.

Along the linguistic regions, 22 percent of French speakers report severe depressive symptoms, compared with 16.9 percent of Swiss-Germans, and 16.1 percent of Ticino residents.

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