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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 11 Mar, 2021 Updated Thu 11 Mar 2021 08:04 CEST
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A woman wearing a niqab takes part in a demonstration against the ban of a face-covering veil, in The Hague on August 9, 2019. - The Netherlands banned the wearing of a face-covering veil, such as a burqa or niqab, in public buildings and on transport from August 1, 2019 as a contentious law on the garment worn by some Muslim women came into force. Between 200 and 400 women are estimated to wear a burqa or niqab in the country of 17 million people. The Dutch legislation was passed in June 2018 after more than a decade of political debate on the subject. (Photo by Niels Wenstedt / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT

Find out what's going on in Switzerland today with The Local's short round-up of the news.

The city of Zurich waves naturalisation fee for young people

Foreign nationals up to 25 years of age will no longer have to pay the municipal naturalisation fee of 250 francs. However, fees still apply for naturalisatons at cantonal and federal level.

The 125-franc fee is also going to be waved for Swiss nationals under 25 who would like to adopt Zurich as their place of origin (Bürgerrecht).

The Local will publish an article today about how many foreign nationals become Swiss each year.

Switzerland will not buy Johnson & Johnson vaccines

A single-dose coronavirus vaccine from the US manufacturer was expected to be approved in Switzerland this month.

However, health authorities decided not to use this vaccine because it would only be delivered in the summer “and that is too late for us”, said Nora Kronig, vice president of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). 

FOPH had previously announced the country aims to inoculate “everyone who wants it” by summer .

Kronig also said Switzerland is focusing on Pfizer / Biontech and Moderna vaccines which use the so-called mRNA technology, “which is more effective, especially for vulnerable people”. Johnson & Johnson vaccine uses a different technology.

The government announced on Tuesday that it had bought an additional three million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, doubling the number on order to 6 million.

READ MORE: Switzerland doubles Pfizer-Biontech coronavirus vaccine order

Swiss online shops thrive during pandemic

Switzerland’s residents spent 13.1 billion francs online on goods in 2020.

That is 2,8 billion francs more than in 2020, according to Swiss Business Association. 

Most of the money — 11 billion francs —was spent on home electronics such as TVs, webcams, printers,  notebooks, and video games.

The furniture, sports and food sectors have also experienced above-average growth.

Interestingly, shoppers favoured Swiss retailers, to the detriment of global giants like Amazon.

Millionaire vows to pay fines for women who wear burqas

Algerian businessman Rachid Nekkaz said Muslim woman in Switzerland should be able to continue wearing burqas,  even though Swiss voters backed a ban on full face coverings in public places. 

He announced that his organisation, Defense of Freedom, will pay all the fines for women who wear burqas in Switzerland, as he is already doing in other European countries.

“I am sticking to my commitment to defending freedom of religion and clothing”, he said. 

Swiss Islam expert Saïda Keller-Messahli is critical of Nekkaz’s actions.

“He thinks he can undo the voting decision with his money. That is presumptuous.”

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What impact will the burqa ban have on Switzerland?

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]




Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2021/03/11 08:04

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