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

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 Thursday
New regulations make roaming from abroad cheaper. Photo by Tetiana-SHYSHKINA-unsplash

Health Minister advises against going to Russia to watch soccer

Alain Berset urged those who have not been vaccinated not to travel to Russia to see Swiss national team play against Spain in quarter-finals on Friday.

“Without a vaccination, I wouldn’t go,  Berset said.

Asked at a press conference on Wednesday why Switzerland is not including Russia, where the Delta virus is causing an upsurge in infections, on the list of  high-variant countries, the health minister replied,  “We decided not to do this because Delta already exists in our country. As as soon as one variant is dominant, it no longer makes sense to add other countries that are in the same situation to the list”.

READ MORE: How Switzerland plans to contain the Delta variant

New regulations concerning roaming charges

Starting today, new provisions apply for roaming charges, which may be particularly relevant for Swiss tourists travelling abroad.

Big differences persist between telecommunications operators, with a large variation in price, according to a study by online comparison site,

But from July 1st, roaming use must be billed per second or per kilobyte, a cost limit must be set, and the duration of the option must reach 12 months. Sunrise, for example, doesn’t comply with this timeframe for two of its roaming packages, only valid for 30 days.

Salt also doesn’t offer one-month packages, only the more expensive alternatives for one year.

The new provisions will change that.

People living in rural areas are not informed about the importance of Covid vaccination

Inoculaton rate among those living in rural regions is lagging behind the rest of the country, according to Thomas Steffen, Basel-City’s cantonal doctor.

“Those who don’t like vaccinations are often in rural communities”, he said.

 That’s why cantons send vaccination teams to agricultural areas, proposing on-the-spot shots without the necessity of prior appointments.

Another group that is reluctant to get vaccinated are migrants, who lack information about the importance of getting immunised, Steffen said.

Health authorities are asking community leaders to contact their compatriots with targeted WhatsApp messages and point out the advantages of vaccination.

The “light” Covid certificate will be released on July 12th

From July 12th, holders of a Covid-19 certificate in Switzerland will be able to receive a copy of the document without any health-related data.

This new certificate, recognised solely in Switzerland, will be available in digital format only.

“This copy merely shows that a valid certificate exists”, without divulging any sensitive medical information and ensuring data protections, the Federal Council said.

READ MORE: TRAVEL: How does the new EU Covid certificate work and how do I get one?

Switzerland donates 4 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccines

Out of the total of 5.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that the country ordered, the government will donate 4 million doses to the COVAX programme, which distributes vaccines to low-income countries.

The remaining 1.4 million doses will be reserved for people in Switzerland who are allergic to Moderna and Pfizer / Biontech vaccines, or those who have received a first dose of AstraZeneca abroad.

Although Switzerland initially ordered AstraZeneca vaccines, the government decided not to use this product when news of serious side effects associated with it surfaced in the spring.

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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