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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Obligatory tests could keep tourists from coming to Switzerland. Photo by Valery Hache / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Switzerland  could have two different Covid passes

While the much-awaited immunity certificate is gradually being launched, another, “lighter” version, may be released as well.

Unlike the internationally-recognised and EU-compatible Covid passport, the second one would be intended for domestic use only and contain less data.

Holders of this second certificates won’t be able to use it to travel abroad, but it could be used in Switzerland, for instance to attend a concert or another large event, according to a report in the Blick newspaper.

READ MORE: What will Switzerland’s Covid-19 pass allow you to do?

Test requirements will keep people from coming to Switzerland this summer, tourism experts say

Given the high costs of testing and issuing travel certificates, many foreign families will not be able to vacation in Switzerland this year.

Swiss tour operators are asking the government to renounce the more costly PCR tests and accept results of the less expensive antigen test.

And money is not the only reason for the request. “A laboratory analysis is needed for a PCR test, which requires a much longer waiting time than the rapid test. This affects the organisational aspect of the holiday”, according to André Lüthi, head of Globetrotter tour agency.

However, the tests are no longer required for foreign visitors who can prove they’ve been fully vaccinated within the six months of their arrival  in Switzerland.

The only countries not exempted from the test requirement are Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Nepal, and the UK. Arrivals from these regions are also required to quarantine when coming to Switzerland.

READ MORE: How does a country ever get off Switzerland’s ‘variant’ list?

Retirement age for women increased

Women will have to work an extra year to collect their social security (AHV / AVS) payments — from the current 64 to 65 — the same age as men.

After a heated debate, MPs voted in favour of this move, which is part of a wider AHV / AVS reform aiming to stabilise the scheme until 2030.

That’s because the population is living longer and the old-age insurance funds are being depleted. If nothing is done, spending will exceed revenues by 2030, authorities say.

Geneva doctors are concerned about a ‘worrisome’ disease

No, this time it’s not Covid-19.

Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) is sounding the alarm about an increase in tropical diseases, including malaria.

People travelling abroad are likely focused on not catching coronavirus and “tend to overlook” tropical diseases, according to HUG.

However, malaria and similar diseases can be fatal, HUG said,  emphasising that a doctor or a specialised medical facility must be consulted before any trip to a country at risk.

And while there is no vaccine against malaria, there are means of prevention, such as mosquito nets, repellant sprays and preventive medication.

As far as yellow fever, is concerned “vaccination is strongly recommended or even compulsory to enter certain countries. Also recommend is vaccination against hepatitis A and measles for all travelers not previously immunised”, HUG noted.

Two Swiss cities in top 10 in new international survey

Zurich is ranked in the 7th place and Geneva in the 8th in the Global Liveability Index 2021 — a survey of 140 cities published by the Economist Magazine.

Despite the pandemic, Switzerland’s two largest cities did well in all five categories assessed by the survey:  stability, healthcare, culture and environment,  as well as education and infrastructure.

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