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

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 Wednesday
Swiss health pass. Photo by FOPH

EU to recognise Swiss health pass this week

The long-awaited recognition of the Swiss health certificate by the European Union should enter into force on Friday or next Monday at the latest.

A special committee made up of representatives of all the Member States has given the green light for Switzerland’s certificate to be approved.  

Once the agreement is officially given, the Swiss health passport will be valid in the 27 countries of the European Union, plus Iceland and Norway.

This passport, in the form of a QR code on a smartphone or in print, must be presented by each traveler at the border.

It includes identification data and information relating to vaccination (type of vaccine, number of doses received), screening (date of test, negative or positive result), and even serological analysis, namely if the traveler had Covid and has antibodies.

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

One more week of rain

Sunny days are fleeting this summer, with heavy rains falling in many parts of Switzerland, particularly the French-speaking regions.

Blame it on the active low pressure system from the British Isles to the Pyrenees “which brings up clouds, humidity, rains and thunderstorms from France to Germany via the Alps”, according to MeteoNews.

Meteorologists predict that this inclement weather will last until July 16th and summer weather is expected to return after that date.

READ MORE: Torrential rain and thunderstorm to continue in parts of Switzerland

Be patient if you travel to Italy by train

The  Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) Eurocity trains are stalled at the Italian border for up to one hour due to rigorous coronavirus-related checks by the guards.

Swiss trains are routinely stopped at border stations of Como or Domodossola for protracted customs controls, so the Eurocity arrives in Milan with a correspondingly long delay.

Swiss government is now negotiating with Italy to find a simpler alternative for the large-scale and time-consuming coronavirus checks on Eurocity trains.

For instance, Switzerland proposed that to save time and avoid delays, Covid checks should be done on a train rather than at train stations. Also, control should be carried out on a random basis

Tobacco sales ban doesn’t deter young people from smoking

Preventing young people from buying cigarettes seems to have little impact, according to a new University of Basel study.

It shows that despite the sales ban, young people don’t smoke less than before.

Survey data indicates that the sales ban resulted in, at most, a slight reduction in tobacco use. In cantons that apply a sales ban before the age of 18, the effects appear to be a bit more dissuasive, although they remain weak and statistically unclear.

Study authors found that smoking tends to become less “cool”, although this has no measurable effect on the behaviour of smokers

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

Efforts to prevent SWISS pilots strike, sanctions for energy abusers, and other news in our roundup on Friday.

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

Goodbye summer, welcome fall

Today is the so-called Autumnal Equinox, which marks the start of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, including in Switzerland.

Given the summer heatwave that reigned (rather than rained) in Switzerland much of the summer, many people are probably longing for the cooler temperatures and golden foliage typical of the fall season.

Image by Valentin from Pixabay

SWISS proposes out-of-court arbitration to the pilots’ association

In order to avoid a strike by SWISS pilots in the middle of autumn school vacations on October 17th, and as long-winded negotiations between the pilots’ union and the airline are not productive, SWISS has proposed to settle the differences in arbitration.

“After more than two years of intensive negotiations, a new collective labour agreement has still not been concluded. The aim of the out-of-court arbitration is to work out a non-binding recommendation over the next few weeks”, the airline said in a statement on Thursday.

It added that Switzerland’s flagship airline “is convinced of a common solution in the sense of a good Swiss compromise”.

The pilot’s union, Aeropers, has not yet replied nor rescinded its threat to strike.

READ MORE: SWISS pilots threaten an October strike action

Cantons ask federal government to set fines for energy abusers 

On September 1st, the Federal Council presented its action plan to avoid energy shortages, including lowering the indoor heating to 19 degrees.

In a letter to the Federal Council, cantons are asking for uniform sanctions across the country in the event that federal rules are not respected.

They want clarifications about who will have the responsibility for the control and issuing of fines in case of non-compliance.

The cantons are concerned that no uniform rules will exist, but instead different regional  measures will be in place, as was the case during the Covid pandemic.

Pfizer seeks approval for a bivalent Covid vaccine

The manufacturer has submitted an application to the drug regulator, Swissmedic, for authorisation of its bivalent vaccine against coronavirus to be used as a second booster.

The new vaccine is “intended to stimulate production of specific neutralising antibodies against Omicron subvariants BA.4 and BA.5”, the strains that are currently predominant in Switzerland and elsewhere”, Swissmedic said.

In August, the regulator has approved the use of Moderna’s bivalent vaccine which targets Omicron subvariants. It should be available for use from October 10th.

READ MORE: Switzerland to start dual-strain Covid boosters in October

Best Swiss cheese to be selected today

The Valais community of Val de Bagnes is holding The Swiss Cheese Championships to determine the best variety.

Cheeses in 32 categories are vying for the coveted title of Best Cheese in an event that brings together 300 producers from all regions of Switzerland.

To prove that Swiss cheeses are loved all over the world, the winner will be determined by an international panel. Aside from Swiss jurors, there are also some from the USA, Canada, New Zealand, Great Britain, France, Germany, Austria, Italy and even Japan.

Each one of them has a very tough job of tasting 40 cheeses for five to six hours before choosing the winner later today.

READ MORE: Ten varieties of cheese you should be able to identify if you live in Switzerland

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]