Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 5, 2021 vials and syringes of the Johnson and Johnson Janssen Covid-19 vaccine are displayed at a Culver City Fire Department vaccination clinic in California. - The Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine is more effective when given as a two-dose regime, according to new data released by the company on September 21, 2021. A second shot given 56 days after the first provided 75 percent protection against symptomatic Covid in a global clinical trial, with that level rising to 94 percent in the United States. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP)

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.


A pleasant surprise: price of health insurance premiums will drop in 2022

For the first time in 14 years, the cost of premiums for the compulsory insurance will fall slightly — 0.2 percent on average, the Federal Council announced.

In 2022, the average monthly premium for basic health insurance will amount to 315.30, or 70 cents less than in 2021. In the last 10 years, on the other hand, it had risen by 2.4 percent per year on average.

The biggest price drop — 2.6 percent — will be in Basel-City, followed by Geneva (1.5 percent), while premiums in Obwalden will rise by 1.4 percent.


Johnson & Johnson vaccine to arrive in Switzerland next week

The Federal Council has informed the cantons that it will receive about 150,000 doses on October 5th.

The number of doses shipped to each canton is determined by its population. Most doses (26,000) will be sent to Zurich, followed by Bern (18,000) and Vaud (14,000). The canton of Aargau will be assigned 12,000 doses, 9,000 in St. Gallen, 8,000 in Geneva, and 6,000 in Ticino.

The cantons will administer the vaccine, manufactured by the US company Janssen, to people over the age of 18 who have severe allergies and can’t be inoculated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

These candidates will have to prove their eligibility — for instance, with a letter from their doctor or other relevant documentation.

READ MORE: Switzerland prepares to roll out Johnson and Johnson vaccine

Covid tests cost taxpayers over 4 million francs a day

The cost of coronavirus screening — and who should pay for it — is stirring up controversy in Switzerland, with the Federal Council and the parliament disagreeing on this issue.

Health Minister Alain Berset announced that the tests will no longer be free of charge for the unvaccinated residents, but political parties from both left and right are insisting the government should continue paying for antigen tests for as long as the Covid certificate requirement remains in place, that is, until January 24th, 2022 at the earliest.

If the tests were to remain free until this date, they would cost the federal government around 770 million francs.

The Council of States will weigh in on this issue today.

READ MORE: UPDATED: Switzerland extends free testing deadline


More people in Switzerland are fully vaccinated than originally thought

The number of residents considered to be fully inoculated was revised upwards — from 54.9 percent to 57.9 percent, as the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) is now taking into account people who had recovered from Covid and were administered only one dose. 

Before the correction, people who received one post-infection dose of vaccine were counted as "partially vaccinated", a category which also includes people awaiting their second shot.

Basel-City now has the highest full vaccination rate (62 percent), followed by Zurich (61.3), Ticino (61), Basel-Country (60.8), with Zug and Vaud having reached 60.5 percent.

Appenzell Innerrhoden is trailing behind the rest of the country with only 47.1 percent of vaccinated residents.

READ MORE: Covid-19 in Switzerland: The situation is improving, but will it last?

Swiss army renames a “racist” dish

One of the dishes the military routinely served its recruits was called "Reispfanne Zigeuner Art", which means “rice gypsy style”. But after the Federal Commission against Racism (CFR) deemed the description racist, another name had to be found for the dish.

The meal is still served but it is now called "Reispfanne mit Rindfleisch und Paprika", or rice with beef and peppers.

The army said that no other dish on its menu had to be renamed because of an offensive or unacceptable name.


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