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

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Friday
Tax rules for cross-border employees working from home have been extended. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Find out what's going on in Switzerland today with The Local's short round-up of the news.

Federal and cantonal authorities to discuss lifting of measures

The Federal Council and the cantons are scheduled to discuss this afternoon whether some of the remaining restrictions should be eased as of March 22nd or April 1st, as originally planned.

This particularly concerns the possibility of re-opening restaurants, a move that the industry association and some political groups have been calling for.

The final decision will be made on March 19th, but health experts say that given the rising number of infections, early re-openings may not be on the horizon. 

READ MORE: Rising infection rates put Switzerland’s March reopening plans in jeopardy

Tax agreement extended for French cross-border workers in Switzerland

The agreement concluded between Bern and Paris on May 13th, 2020, which suspended the obstacles to teleworking for cross-border commuters, would expire on March 31st.

But as the pandemic is still ongoing in both countries, the two governments consented to extend it until June 30th, the Federal Tax Administration announced.

This means that cross-border commuters who have to work from home will continue to benefit from the same tax regime as before the health crisis.

READ MORE: Tax rules cross-border workers in Switzerland need to know

Covid vaccines caused serious side effects in 177 people

Among 597 adverse reactions reported in Switzerland until March 8th, almost a third were considered as serious, according to regulatory agency, Swissmedic.

If those, 343 cases are attributed to the Pfizer/Biontech vaccine,  251 to Moderna, and in three cases the vaccine could not be determined.

While most reactions were mild, the 177 ‘severe’ cases included fever (24), respiratory distress (18), Covid-like symptoms (14), nausea (11), hypersensitivity (11) anaphylactic reactions ( 11), headaches and migraines (11) and shingles (8).

In 21 of these severe cases, the inoculated person died. Those affected were on average 85 years old and most suffered from serious pre-existing conditions. However, Swissmedic said there is no concrete evidence that these deaths were caused by the vaccine.

To date, nearly 955,000 people were vaccinated in Switzerland, of whom 332,585 received both doses. In this context, the percentage of people who suffered serious reactions is very small.

Swiss Covid drug failed clinical studies

A  phase 3 trial with tocilizamab, a medication manufactured by Swiss pharma giant Roche did not meet its goals. This means one less drug will be available to treat coronavirus patients.

All hopes are pinned on a medicine being developed by the Zurich laboratory Molecular Partners.

Initial findings on its drug, Ensovibep, indicate it is “safe and well tolerated with no significant adverse events”, the manufacturers reported. 

The antiviral treatment is still in its clinical trial phase, with further tests scheduled  in the spring.

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