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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
SWISS cabin crew must be vaccinated by January. Photo: SWISS press photo
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Delta variant now accounts for all Covid cases in Switzerland

The quick-spreading and highly contagious Delta strain is now responsible for 100 percent of infections detected in Switzerland, according to data from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

Image by FOPH

However, the overall situation is getting better, with the R-rate, which indicates how quickly the virus spreads through the community, now at 0.74.

When it falls below 1, epidemiologists see it as a sign of improvement and a positive development in the fight against the pandemic.

Geneva restaurants to heat their terraces in winter

In order to allow outdoor spaces of restaurants to stay open despite cold weather — and accommodate people who don’t have a Covid certificate — cantonal authorities have authorised heaters to be installed outside the establishments.

However, these heaters must meet strict environmental criteria, officials said.

Electric infrared heaters, for instance, are prohibited. Only the ones that use natural wood are allowed, and in the event of a peak in fine particle pollution, they have to be turned off.

Covid certificate could be required to ski in Switzerland

As the beginning of the ski season is only several weeks away, the question of the certificate requirement to access the slopes is being debated in Switzerland.

Lukas Engelberger, president of the Conference of Cantonal Health Directors, said that the certificate should be compulsory for everyone skiing in Swiss resorts.

However, people in charge of ski areas are against this requirement, preferring to maintain the same conditions as last winter: wearing a mask on ski lifts and cable cars, and respecting distances in queues.

Skiing near the Matterhorn. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

MP proposes a new national holiday to celebrate Swiss democracy

Deputy Heinz Siegenthaler from Bern is calling on the Federal Council to introduce a new public holiday on September 12th to celebrate the founding of modern Switzerland on that day in 1848.

He argues that while August 1st commemorates the founding of Switzerland in 1291, no one celebrates the creation of the federal state, such as we know it today, which dates back to September 12th, 1848.

“Concepts of great value, such as direct democracy, the rule of law, and the separation of powers, were launched on that date”, he said.

So far, there is no response from the federal authorities to Siegenthaler’s proposal.

READ MORE: Why is Bern the ‘capital’ of Switzerland?

SWISS airline could dismiss unvaccinated employees

The national airline announced in August that all cabin crew must be inoculated against Covid by November 15th.

Now the carrier said all “flying personnel” that is not fully vaccinated could face termination.

However, SWISS extended the deadline for the shots until January 2022.

“For employees who need more time to make decisions about vaccinations, there is the option of suspending their employment”, according to the company spokesperson.

Once inoculated, these people can return to work within the period of six months, but anyone who refuses to be vaccinated faces termination at the end of January “due to the breach of duty”.

The airline’s vaccination rate is slightly higher than that of the general population, which is currently 55 percent, the spokesperson said.

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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