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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
With the new ticket format, riding Swiss trains will be cheaper. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP

The number of fully vaccinated people in Switzerland underestimated

The official percentage of residents who have had two shots of the Covid vaccine is 51.76 percent, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

However, it appears that the actual number is slightly higher. That’s because thee official figure only takes into account people who received the reglementary two doses of the vaccine, but it doesn’t include rose who had a single shot after recovering from Covid.

They too are considered as fully vaccinated and receive the Covid certificate.

FOPH is still calculating the exact number of immunised residents, but the figure is not expected to be significantly higher or reach the EU level of 57.21 percent health officials said.

READ MORE:Covid-19 vaccines: Why is Switzerland lagging behind other EU countries?

Zurich health minister: Unvaccinated people should refuse hospitalisation

“Anyone who opposes vaccination should fill out a form confirming they don’t want to be hospitalised if they get Covid”, cantonal head of health, Natalie Rickli, told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper. 

She added that such a move “would be consistent”  with the anti-vaxxers’ beliefs.

The suggestion is similar to the one put forth on August 23rd by Rickli’s Geneva counterpart, Mauro Poggia, who said that people who refuse the vaccine and get infected with coronavirus should pay at least part of the costs of their hospitalisation.

READ MORE: Geneva health chief calls for unvaccinated patients to pay for hospital treatment

Public transportation network to test new subscriptions

SwissPass Alliance, an umbrella group for public transportation companies,  announced the launch of a project to test new forms of travel subscriptions and pricing.

Under this new concept, a customer purchases 1,000 or 3,000 francs worth of credit, paying 800 or 2,000 francs, respectively.  With this money, they can buy tickets and day passes for a year.

If the purchase price  is not fully used within one year, the unused credit is refunded.

The goal of the new forms of subscription is to “meet customer needs, allow more flexible use of public transport, and be available digitally”, SwissPass said in a statement.

Some medical products bought abroad could be covered by Swiss insurance

The Federal Council wants to end the principle of “territoriality” for simple, easy-to-use pharmaceutical products purchased by Swiss residents in foreign countries.

These purchases — for example, adhesive bandaids and similar items — will be refunded by Swiss health insurance, but only if bought in the EU or EFTA states.

However, the insurance will not pay for a medical product or device whose use requires instructions or medical supervision; their costs will be reimbursed only if purchased in Switzerland.

Traffic lights installed at the Swiss-French border

In order to reduce rush-hour traffic jams in villages surrounding the border, Geneva is testing new traffic lights at Soral, Chancy, Perly-Ceroux and Avusy.

The lights will be programmed to allow in only 80 percent of vehicles that usually pass through customs.

These lights will operate from Monday to Friday, 6 am to 8:30 am, in the direction from France to Switzerland, as this is the usual flow of traffic of cross-border workers.


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

Heating with wood to become more expensive, redacted vaccine contracts, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Thursday.

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

Heating with wood is starkly more expensive

It’s not only the prices for fossil fuels, oil and gas that have risen sharply in Switzerland. Even those who rely on alternative energies such as wood as a fuel currently have to dig deeper into their wallets, SRF reported.

The pellets made from pressed sawdust are 46 percent more expensive than a year ago. “In general, we can summarise that the increase is due to higher production costs,” said Peter Lehmann, President of the “proPellets” Association. In addition to processing, wood is also more expensive.

Last year, almost 50 percent more pellet-based heating systems were built than in 2020, which has increased the demand for pellets. However, Lehmann assumes that the price will not decrease in the medium term; wood as a raw material is too much in demand in the current situation.

READ ALSO: Five of the biggest challenges facing Switzerland right now

Swiss government publishes redacted vaccine contracts

After a long period of resistance, the Swiss government disclosed the vaccine purchase contracts. Before that, however, it had redacted them out extensively, Watson reported.

The authorities have kept it a secret even the duration of secrecy, so the Swiss won’t know how long it will take until they can see the complete contracts. The lack of transparency has brought on criticism against the government.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why vaccinations are not mandatory in Switzerland

Almost 10 percent of Ukrainian refugees have found jobs in Switzerland

A total of 9.4 percent of adults possessing a special “S” permit are working, with most employed in the restaurant sector, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) said.

Nearly a quarter of them (23 percent) are active in the restaurant industry. In addition, 17 percent work in the “planning, consulting, IT” sector. Agriculture and education each account for 8 percent of those with the S status.

There are currently 61 424 status S applications in Switzerland, of which 59 411 persons have been granted S status, SEM said.

READ ALSO: 200,000 in 2022: Immigration fuelling Swiss population surge

Federal Council wants to decide on sanction policy in August

Switzerland’s Federal Council wants to discuss whether or not to adopt the so-called “thematic” sanctions of the European Union, Tagesanzeiger said.

These sanctions work differently than those imposed on a specific country. Instead, they allow measures to be taken against individuals, companies and organisations from different countries that violate certain rights. They are primarily concerned about violations regarding chemical weapons, cyber and human rights.

Specifically, in March 2021, the EU decided to sanction some persons, organisations and institutions from North Korea, Libya, Eritrea, South Sudan, Russia and China for serious human rights violations.

The controversial decision could lead to Switzerland sanctioning China, with Minister of Economic Affairs Guy Parmelin against adopting the measures.

READ ALSO: Switzerland bans imports of Russian gold