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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Failed exchange of snakes took place at the border. PHOTO BY INTI OCON / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Government sends a reminder to test after return from vacation

If you have returned from abroad in the past few days, you may have received a text message when crossing the border.

This message, sent out by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) urges you to get tested, unless you are vaccinated or recovered from Covid.

The text was provided to the three main mobile operators in the country. But the decision to send it or not is up to them, as they bear the cost of this operation.

Sunrise said it is sending this message to all its customers returning to Switzerland. At Salt, the text is sent exclusively to foreign tourists if their phone is connected to the operator’s network in the country.

However, Switzerland’s largest telecom operator, Swisscom, has decided not to send this message to its customers when they return from their trip.

Testing will be free in Switzerland only until the end of September, with the government announcing on Wednesday that people will need to pay at least CHF50 for a test from October 1st in a bid to boost vaccination numbers

FOPH sends alerts to get tested after the holidays. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

“The virus is not going away”, Swiss health expert warns

The intensity of the new coronavirus wave will depend on the number of people who are vaccinated, according to Martin Ackermann, outgoing president of thr Covid-19 Task Force.

“But it is clear that the virus is not going to go away. Unvaccinated people will sooner or later be infected”, he said.

Three million people in Switzerland have no immunity to the virus —far more than the number of people who have been infected so far, Ackermann noted.

“If unimmunised people are infected within a few months, it will lead to many hospitalisations”.

READ MORE: MAPS: Where are Switzerland’s new coronavirus hotspots?

More immigrants in Switzerland in the first half of the year

In the first six months of 2021, immigration to Switzerland increased by 3.9 percent, compared to the same period of 2020, according to a new report released by the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

These developments are mainly due to the fact that, compared to the first pandemic wave of spring 2020, more third-country nationals came to Switzerland.

Net migration amounted to 26,008 people. In all, 2,128,812 foreigners were residing in Switzerland at the end of June 2021.

An “incident” at the Swiss-French border

Since today is Friday, we would like to bring you some wacky news for a change.

Swiss media reported that two men in their early 20s, one a resident of Switzerland and the other of France, decided to exchange their pet boas.

Both snakes are reportedly protected species and their trade is forbidden.

Nevertheless, the two men decided to make the exchange — not in a dark alley somewhere in the middle of the night, but in full daylight at one of the Swiss-French border crossings near Geneva. They opened the boxes containing the snakes and proceeded to swap them in full view of the border guards.

Custom officers swooped in, seizing the boas.

Though an infraction was committed, this incident is…bordering on comical.

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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