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SWITZERLAND

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

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

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Tuesday
Will Rafale fighter jets fly over Switzerland? Photo by ANGELOS TZORTZINIS / AFP

Robberies and online fraud most common crimes in Switzerland

Some 32,819 burglaries and 24,398 cases of  “cyber-fraud” were reported in 2020, according to latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). 

The most widespread internet scams involved online shopping, real estate advertisements and dating sites, FSO found.

Based on the report, The Local will publish an article today on which Swiss cities were found to be most dangerous.

READ MORE: How to avoid the most common online scams in Switzerland

Migros launches a product sustainability indicator

Starting this week, a sustainability scale — the M check — is listed on all Migros brands directly on the packaging.

It rates two categories of sustainability, such as animal welfare and climate compatibility, with 1 to 5 stars. These two criteria, which list the product’s environmental impact “are important for the public,” said Tristan Cerf, spokesperson for Switzerland’s largest supermarket chain.

Information can sometimes be contradictory, Cerf said. “For example, we can have a situation where the animal is treated well, but which consumes more resources, as in organic farming. These indicators are therefore complementary and interesting to put together.”

France wants to sell its military planes to Switzerland

French Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly paid an official visit to her Swiss counterpart Viola Amherd to convince her to buy France’s combat planes, the Rafale.

On September 27th, 2020 Swiss voters approved by a thin margin the purchase of new fighter jets for 6 billion francs to replace the country’s ageing fleet by 2030.

The Rafale, manufactured by Dasault, is one of four “finalist” aircraft that could be purchased. Other contenders include the Eurofighter Typhoon from Airbus, F/A-18 Super Hornet from Boeing, and F-35 from Lockheed.

The Federal Council will make the decision this summer.

No mass Covid testing in Swiss pharmacies

Although pharmacies in Switzerland were supposed to offer free rapid tests, only a few are able to do so, according to Martine Ruggli, president of industry organisation Pharma Suisse.

Out of the country’s 1,800 pharmacies, only about 280 can meet the strict guidelines, she said.

Pilot project: Vaccinations to be rolled out in Zurich pharmacies from April

“It’s relatively complicated, because we have 26 cantons and 26 different requirements for pharmacies”.

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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SWITZERLAND

Three scenarios: How Switzerland plans to fight a Covid resurgence

Swiss government has devised three contingency plans that could be implemented to fight a new outbreak. What are they?

Three scenarios: How Switzerland plans to fight a Covid resurgence
Authorities want to prevent overcrowded hospitals if new wave comes. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

Although Switzerland relaxed a number of coronavirus rules from June 26th and 28th, “the pandemic is not over”, as Health Minister Alain Berset said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Berset said Switzerland should not become complacent, with last summer a warning against feeling that the battle is won. 

He added, however, that the new wave is unlikely to be as large as the previous ones due to the country’s vaccination campaign.

This situation leaves a degree of uncertainty for which the government wants to be prepared as well as possible, Berset noted.

The Federal Council established a “just-in-case” procedure on Wednesday for three possible scenarios that could take place in the autumn and winter. 

These plans focus mainly on the rapid detection of variants and the continuation of vaccination, testing, and tracing.

The best-case scenario: status quo

In this scenario, the number of cases remains at a low level, though small outbreaks are still possible.

The number of infections may increase slightly due to seasonal factors — the virus is known to spread slower in summer and faster in autumn and winter—  but does not place a significant burden on the health system.

If this happens, no measures beyond those already in place would be necessary.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: Is Switzerland lifting its Covid-19 restrictions too quickly?

Not so good: more contaminations

In this second scenario, there is an increase in the number of cases in autumn or winter.

There may be several reasons for this, for example the large proportion of unvaccinated people, seasonal effects — people tend to stay indoors together in cold weather, and contaminations are easier — or the appearance of new, more infectious variants.

This situation could overburden the health system and require the reintroduction of certain measures, such as the obligation to wear a mask outdoors.

Booster vaccinations may also be necessary.

The worst: new virus mutations

In scenario three, one or more new variants appear, against which the vaccine or the post-recovery immunity are less effective or no longer effective.

A new wave of pandemic emerges, requiring strong intervention by the public authorities and a new vaccination.

Which of the three scenarios is most likely to happen?

The government hasn’t said, but judging by the comments of health officials, the latter two are the strongest contenders.

Firstly, because the highly contagious Delta mutation, which is spreading quickly through many countries, is expected to be dominant in Switzerland within a few weeks.

It is expected that the virus will spread mostly to those who are not vaccinated and, to a lesser degree, to people who have only had one shot of the vaccine, according to Andreas Cerny, epidemiologist at the University of Bern

READ MORE: How Switzerland plans to contain the Delta variant

Another concern is related to the appearance of the new variants which could be as or possibly even more contagious than Delta and not as responsive to the current vaccines.

The government said the best chance of avoiding the second or third scenarios is to ensure people are vaccinated. 

“Widespread vaccination of the population is crucial to relieve the burden on the healthcare system and to manage the epidemic. A possible increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the autumn will largely depend on the proportion of the population that has been vaccinated,” the government wrote in a press statement.

The government has also indicating it is preparing for booster vaccinations to take place in 2022 and are encouraging cantons to keep their vaccine infrastructures in place. 

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