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

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday
A man signing a consent form while holding the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP). Photo: JENS SCHLUETER / AFP
Find out what's going on in Switzerland today with The Local's short round-up of the news.

Switzerland to join EU’s vaccination certificate programme

The EU Commission presented its proposal for a vaccination card, which should be ready before summer.

Brussels wants to include Switzerland in this project, based on the bilateral agreement on the free movement of persons. What is needed from Switzerland is a system that is compatible with the EU’s platform, officials said.

National Councilor Regine Sauter, who launched the debate in this subject in the Swiss parliament, said it is crucial for Switzerland to take action, or “we will end up on the sidelines, while the citizens of other countries have long been allowed to travel freely again”.

Swiss approach should be compatible with the EU’s, she noted. “It is essential that the vaccination certificate is recognized in international travel”.

READ MORE: ‘Green pass’: European Commission to propose EU-wide vaccine passports for summer

Ban on tobacco advertisement debated in the parliament

Currently, tobacco advertising is only prohibited on radio and television, but MPs decided to extend the ban to newspapers and websites visited by minors.

However, the National Council has opted for a  less restrictive option: to ban advertising only in media intended for children under 18. Advertising should be prohibited in cinemas and in public spaces, as well as on signs visible from the public domain.

Parliament has been debating the new tobacco law, which should allow Switzerland to ratify a WHO convention, since 2016.

SWISS airline gives away its chocolates

It’s a tradition that passengers flying with Switzerland’s flagship airline receive a chocolate at the end of each flight. But with fewer flights and fewer passengers during the pandemic, less chocolate has been distributed.  Nearly half a million are about to expire.

That’s why the airline has decided to give away 440,000 chocolates not just to passengers, but also to employees, airport suppliers, and charities.

During the first Covid-19 wave last year, SWISS gave its surplus chocolates to healthcare workers.

Ascona (TI) imposes a mask requirement outdoors

Since Ticino has traditionally been the most popular destination for Swiss tourists during Easter holidays, the canton and municipalities want to avoid new outbreaks of coronavirus.

To protect the health of tourists as well as local population, Ascona is the first municipality in Ticino to make masks compulsory outdoors.

The situation is expected to be different than at Easter in 2020, when Ticino was one of the hardest-hit cantons due to its proximity to Italy, where the pandemic began. At that time, Ticino authorities urged tourists to “stay away”.

This year, cantonal officials are calling on municipalities to keep waterfront promenades and city parks open during Easter. 

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