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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Weather alerts may come via mobile phones. Photo by Porapak Apichodilok from Pexels
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Government plans to introduce mobile phone weather alerts

Given the heavy rains and flooding of the past week, Bern is considering the introduction of cell phone weather alerts for the entire population, NZZ am Sonntag reveals.

The information was confirmed by Alain Fellmann, head of the Warning Systems Division at the Federal Office for Population Protection (OFFP).

In 2016, Switzerland had postponed the implementation of such a system, because not all cell phones were designed to receive push messages. The government therefore continued to develop Alertswiss – an application and a website issuing disaster warnings.

Now, however, the technology for cell phone alerts exists and could be implemented soon.

READ MORE: Floods: Why was Switzerland impacted less severely than Germany?

Schoolchildren should be taught natural risk management

Several Swiss experts are recommending that risk awareness be taught as part of the schools’ regular curriculum, as reported by NZZ am Sonntag.

“Schools can develop appropriate skills in pupils, particularly in regions threatened by specific natural hazards”, a spokesperson for the Federal Office for the Environment said.

Cantons consider restrictions for unvaccinated people

When it comes to Covid measures, cantons have been stricter than federal autthorities and are now seriously considering the introduction of rules aimed at non-vaccinated residents.

“If the number of infections and hospitalisations continues to increase, we should consider extending the vaccination requirement”, said Lukas Engelberger, president of the Conference of Cantonal Directors of Health (CDS).

Demonstrations, sports activities, fitness centres, restaurants, and other public events would only be accessible to those with a vaccination certificate, as is currently the case in Italy and France, Engelberger noted.

READ MORE: Why Switzerland is not considering new measures despite rising Covid case numbers 

Worse than Covid: Babies infected with respiratory virus

More than 100 children are currently in Swiss hospitals with serious respiratory condition, known as RS virus, which puts the affected infants at risk of respiratory distress and lack of oxygen.

“The RS virus is currently a bigger problem for us than Covid,” says Christoph Berger, who heads the department of infectious diseases and hospital hygiene at the Children’s Hospital of Zurich.

He cites the confinement during the pandemic as the main reason for the rise in these infections, as it prevented young children from strengthening their immune systems.

Zurich’s safe driving campaign judged sexist

The slogan of a large-scale Zurich campaign calling on motorists to be more safety-minded on the road is urging drivers “to behave as if your grandma were in the car”.

The grandmother in question is portrayed as a stereotypical old, gray-haired woman — “a long outdated cliché”, according to SonntagsZeitung.

City of Zurich Traffic Department

Now some Zurich residents are demanding  that the “grandma campaign” be discontinued, as it is both sexist and discriminatory, and modern women don’t fit the image presented in the advertisement.

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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