Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
A train of Swiss Rail company (SBB CFF) makes its way in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Lavaux with its terraced vineyards above Lake Geneva on October 5, 2017 near Cully, western Switzerland. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

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


More virus mutations could appear in Switzerland

While Switzerland has lifted many of its Covid restrictions due to a much improved epidemiological situation, the country is not totally out of danger, health officials say.

The main risk lies in the appearance of new, more contagious and dangerous variants that would be resistant to vaccines, according to Patrick Mathys, head of the crisis management and international collaboration section of the Federal Office of Public Health.

Health Minister Alain Berset conceded that this scenario remains a possibility but the outbreaks, if they do occur, “should not reach the levels of past spring or fall-winter”.

READ MORE: IN DETAIL: What are Switzerland’s new relaxed coronavirus measures?



Vaccination certificates are valid for at least one year

The Federal Council has extended the validity period of the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna) from six to 12 months for fully vaccinated persons, following the recommendation of the Federal Commission for Vaccinations.

People who got two shots of one of these vaccines  will be exempted for 12 months from quarantining in the event of a contact with an infected person or upon returning from a risk area.

However, in accordance with EU requirements for the Covid certificate, those who recovered from coronavirus remain exempt from quarantine for only six months.

The authorities have also extended the period of validity antigen tests from 24 to 48 hours.


Yes, you can travel in Switzerland at a reasonable price

Public transportation is not cheap in Switzerland, but in order to encourage people to stay in the country this summer and travel by trains and buses,  Switzerland Tourism is launching a special lower-cost travel card.

This card costs 11 francs per day or 330 francs for a month in second class.  For the first class, the summer subscription costs 480 francs per month.

In addition to trains, buses and trams, guests can also take boat trips or use the mountain railways.

READ MORE: Cost of living: The most – and least – expensive cantons in Switzerland

Longer waiting times at Switzerland’s airports

As many countries have eased their entry restrictions, more people are expected to travel abroad in the coming weeks, which is likely to result in longer queues at check-in counters.

The delays are caused by the requirement to check every passenger’s vaccination certificate or negative test result, a task that is slowing down the check-in process considerably.

Both Zurich and Geneva airports are advising passengers to arrive between two and two-and-a-half hours before departure to ensure that they can board their flight on time.

Petition launched in Schwyz to facilitate citizenship process

The canton makes it particularly difficult for foreigners to get Swiss passports.

In a country-wide comparison, no other canton has allowed so few people to be naturalised.

Now the Social Democratic party is launching a petition to relax the strict criteria currently in place for obtaining Swiss citizenship.

Depending on how many people sign the petition, the party may take this issue all the way to the ballot box in order to change the canton’s naturalisation requirements.

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