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SWISS NEWS

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

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

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Tuesday
Are waiting rooms Covid spreaders' Photo by MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP

Unsanitary conditions in vaccination centres

Many people who have to queue up to get their Covid shots are complaining about unsafe conditions common in vaccination centres, Swiss media reported.

Most complaints are in regard to crowded waiting rooms, causing concern about the risks of catching coronavirus while waiting for the shot.

However, the risk of infection in a vaccination centre “is extremely low”, according to epidemiologist Andreas Cerny, who said these venues “have well-planned processes to prevent long queues from forming.”

He added that to avoid waiting in line, people should not come for their appointment ahead of time and follow distance rules.  “Fear of infection in the vaccination centre is unfounded”, he noted.

Swiss railways are ramping up international traffic

After months of massively reduced offers, Switzerland’s train system (SBB) is expanding its international connections, especially with neighbouring countries.

For instance, in cooperation with Trenitalia, SBB plans to offer more direct trains to Milan, Como and Genoa from the end of May.  Currently, there are only two daily trains from Zurich to Italy, and one each from Basel and Geneva.

Also starting this week, there will be four daily connections between Paris and Geneva, two between Paris and Lausanne, and three between Paris and Zurich

From May 23rd, the night trains from Swiss cities to Hamburg and Berlin will also resume service. 

Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Most in Switzerland support agreement with the European Union

The majority of Switzerland’s population — 64 percent —are in favour of the framework agreement that the Swiss government has been negotiating with the EU since 2014, reveals a new survey by the gsf.bern polling institute.

Even though the negotiations came to a standstill in recent weeks, 54 percent of respondents  believe that bilateral treaties are beneficial for Switzerland, while only 16 percent see more disadvantages.

Bern and Brussels are seeking to seal a long-delayed cooperation agreement, but the talks hit a stumbling block over the issue of free movement of people, which allows EU citizens to live and work in Switzerland, and vice versa.

READ MORE: Why freedom of movement a ‘sticking point’ in Swiss-EU talks

Mobile vaccination units to crisscross Vaud

From May 18th, mobile teams will be driving throughout the canton to inoculate those who are not able to come to vaccination centres.  Initially, around 30 municipalities will be served, cantonal authorities announced.

The mobile units will be an addition to the 14 stationary vaccination centres, as well as a number of pharmacies and medical practices.

To access these mobile services, appointments can be made online or by calling 058-715-1100

READ MORE: How to get the coronavirus vaccine in Vaud

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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SWISS NEWS

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
MPs debate tax breaks for childcare services. Photo by Rashid Sadykov on Unsplash

Geneva vaccination centres will remain open despite USA-Russia summit

Although certain parts of the city will be shut on Wednesday due to the meeting this week between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, health authorities have said that Geneva’s vaccination facilities will continue to operate.

Even if some modifications will have to be made, “their impact will be minimal”, according to the cantonal pharmacist Nathalie Vernaz-Hegi.

READ MORE: Historic Swiss lakeside villa spruced up for Biden-Putin talks

Night trains and buses will resume their activity in July

Suspended since November, following the Federal Council’s decision to close restaurants at 11 pm, public transportation has not, or rarely, operated during the night since that time.
 
This is set to change in July, especially as there are now enough train drivers, particularly in the German-speaking Switzerland.
 
Shortages still remain in the French-speaking areas, as well as Ticino, but they should be resolved by fall.

Parents might be able to deduct more taxes for daycare costs

The parliament is debating about increasing the deduction for childcare costs, from 6,500 to 10,000 francs.

MP Christa Markwalder proposed this motion, arguing that it would allow a better reconciliation of professional and family life, as well as better integration of women into the labour market.

Opponents, however, claim  that such a deduction would lead to considerable tax losses, without having any positive effect on equality between men and women.

However, the proposal has every chance of succeeding, supporters say.

READ MORE: How to decide where to live in Switzerland based on affordability

Deportations of foreign criminals should be improved for minor cases, MPs say

The National Council has widely adopted a motion proposing several changes to criminal law relating to the expulsion of foreigners who commit crimes in Switzerland,

The motion proposes three options.

Firstly, the Public Prosecutor’s Office should be empowered to order expulsion in minor cases. Today, only a court can make this decision.

Secondly, foreign defendants without a residence permit or who entered Switzerland solely with the intention of committing a crime, should no longer be entitled to a defense.

Finally, the list of offenses must be re-examined to exclude minor ones; this includes contraventions leading to compulsory expulsion, in particular when they were committed by young foreigners who grew up in Switzerland.

Swiss residents opt to invest their money in pension funds

People in Switzerland have a marked preference for placing their money in pension funds and life insurance over other investment options, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group.

The study showed that the two investment vehicles accounted for 41 percent of the estimated $3.3 trillion of financial wealth in 2020.

Next — 32 percent — are deposits in foreign currencies, followed by equities and investment funds (23 percent).

At the end of 2020, the share of Swiss financial assets was more than 6 percent of  Western Europe’s.

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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