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

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday
Traffic, like here, in Zurich, generates toxic noise. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Seven regions of neighbouring countries no longer on quarantine list

Switzerland has removed some areas off its “high-risk” list, meaning that effective immediately travelers from these regions must no longer quarantine upon arrival.

These regions are: Austria — Land Burgenland, Land Kärnten, Land Niederösterreich and Land Wien. Italy —Regione Emilia Romagna, Regione Friuli Venezia Giulia and Regione Toscana.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Greece, Jordan, San Marino, and Ukraine have also been removed from the list.

The Local will publish an article today about when tourism to Switzerland is expected to open up again.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Which countries are currently on Switzerland’s quarantine list?

‘Cautious optimism’ on the epidemiological front

Despite the presence of the “aggressive” British coronavirus mutation, the prevalent variant in Switzerland, the country has “good reasons to be cautiously optimistic”, according to Patrick Mathys, head of the crisis unit at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

The number of daily infections is stable, and the R-rate has dropped below 1, which means that virus transmission has slowed down and the pandemic is currently under control, Mathys said.

Portuguese and Spanish nationals shun Geneva’s elections

Although foreigners living in Geneva for at least eight years have the right to vote at a municipal level, not all of them participate in this democratic process.

A study carried out by Geneva’s Office for the Integration of Foreigners shows that very few Portuguese and Spanish residents voted in the municipal elections on March 15th — only 13 percent and 15 percent, respectively.

However, the turnout was much higher among Belgian nationals (41 percent), Germans (39 percent) and French (31).

Of other nationalities — the UK, Italy, Turkey, USA, Morocco and Brazil — between one-third and one-fifth of residents cast their votes.

Don’t throw away your disposable masks — yet

Although we have been told that surgical masks should be tossed away each day, now a new Swiss study shows this  guideline is not necessarily true.

Instead, after being worn, a surgical mask should be kept for seven days and then reused.

With this so-called “weekly” strategy, the same person could use their mask up to 10 times, a study by Unisanté — University Center for General Medicine and Public Health in Lausanne revealed.

That’s because the viability of the virus deposited on a surface decreases “considerably” after a few hours. After being used, a surgical mask can be kept for seven days and then reused. This solution would allow the carbon footprint of surgical masks to be diminished ten-fold, researchers said.

Environmental noise can be hazardous to health, Swiss researchers found

Around 450 premature deaths and 2,500 new cases of diabetes occur each year in Switzerland in connection with too much exposure to traffic noise, the Federal Office for the Environment found.

“Exposure to noise has an impact on the cardiovascular system, with a stiffening of the arteries which can lead to heart attack. We have also noticed that someone who has spent a night in a noisy environment will tend to metabolise their sugar less well, which can lead to diabetes”, one of the researchers said.

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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  1. Is there any rationale for denying entry from the USA, if one has been vaccinated? Does anyone look at evidence before making decisions?

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