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

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Friday
Eating in outdoor restaurants is allowed in some cantons. Photo by JEAN-PIERRE CLATOT / AFP
Find out what's going on in Switzerland today with The Local's short round-up of the news.

Switzerland ranks highly in technological preparedness

Switzerland is in the second place out of 158 countries in terms of advanced technologies, according to a ranking released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). 

Among other criteria rated by the index, Switzerland ranked third on industrial and financial issues, seventh for new technologies, but only 13th for skills and innovative research.

Last week, Switzerland took the number 1 spot in UNCTAD’s digital commerce ranking. 

Switzerland to approve a new vaccine to fill shortage

A single-dose coronavirus vaccine from US manufacturer Johnson & Johnson is expected to be approved in Switzerland in March, Swiss media reported.

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has reportedly been negotiating with the manufacturer since January, but has not yet said when the order will be placed or how many doses will be purchased.

The Local will publish an update today about the state of Switzerland’s vaccination programme.

Defying federal ban, some cantons allow outdoor dining in ski areas

Even though large groups of people are not allowed to congregate either inside or outdoors, restaurant terraces in several ski areas continue to be open.

This is the case of Ticino, Nidwalden, Obwalden, Schwyz and Uri. Even though this is against the rules, skiers who bring their own food are allowed to sit down to eat at tables.

Although the terraces are often crowded, especially around lunchtime, health officials in these cantons say protective measures like distances on terraces and around the take-out areas are respected.

READ MORE: Switzerland heavily criticised for welcoming foreign skiers 

Workers will have access to restaurants at lunchtime

People who work outdoors in sectors including agriculture and construction will now be able to have a hot meal in company restaurants between 11 am and 2 pm each weekday, the Federal Office of Public Health announced.

There have been repeated calls for canteens to open their doors to workers who spend hours outdoors in cold weather or rain, without a possibility of having a proper sit-down meal.

Should second-class train passengers be allowed to sit in first class?

This switch should be permitted during the pandemic, according to the youth section of the Socialist Party.

The group argues that while second-class carriages are often full, few people are sitting in the first-class, so passengers should be allowed to move from one section of the train to another.

“In exceptional circumstances, exceptional measures: there is no reason to pay the upgrade during a pandemic. It makes no sense that certain vehicles are lightly occupied, to the detriment of others “, the group said.

Swiss Federal Railways have not yet responded to the request, but the socialists’ previous calls for the abolition of first-class carriages which, they claim, are symbols of  social inequality, had been denied.

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]

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