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

Comfort and joy: We may finally have a merry Christmas this year.
This year’s Christmas celebrations in Switzerland could be close to normal, health experts say. be Photo by Irina Iriser from Pexels
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

MPs urge the government to reserve new Covid medication

Molnupiravir antiviral drug is said to greatly reduce the risk of coronavirus-related hospital admissions and deaths.

“The Federal Council should reserve the drug quickly so that Switzerland can get it early,” MP Therese Schläpfer said.

Another politician, Katharina Prelicz-Huber, is also calling on the authorities for a quick approval. “In addition to the vaccination, this drug would be a central means of lifting the Covid measures at an early stage”, she said.

However, no application for approval of Molnupiravir has been received in Switzerland to date from its US manufacturer, Merck & Co,

But unlike the vaccines, it could be accepted on the basis of the approval by European or American drug agencies in a fast-track process.

Will Switzerland have a “normal” Christmas this year?

Unlike the holiday season in 2020, when Switzerland was in the midst of the second wave of the pandemic, health experts say this year’s Christmas celebrations could be close to normal.

“It is absolutely possible that we can celebrate Christmas without taking any measures if the vaccination campaign is successful,” said Daniel Speiser, professor of immunology at the University of Lausanne.

 “We have never been so close to the end of the pandemic as we are now.”

And according to Christoph Berger, president of the Federal Commission for Vaccination Issues, “it is quite possible that we will manage to increase the vaccination rate by 10 to 15 percent, so that the Covid certificate and the mask requirement will no longer be necessary”.

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

Activists are calling for better air quality on Swiss trains

A newly formed activist group claims that the coronavirus is often transmitted on Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) via tiny droplets in the air, the so-called aerosols, especially during rush hour, when trains are full.

“The SBB must ensure that public transport is as safe as possible,” said the group’s founder Markus Leutwyler.

He carries a CO2 measuring device on train journeys and registers particularly high values at peak times.

“It is unacceptable to expose passengers to such bad air”, he noted.

For its part, the SBB  “regularly carries out our own extensive measurements with certified devices,” said spokesperson Oli Dischoe, adding that CO2 values on Swiss trains “are in the recommended healthy range”.

In addition, there are sensors in all air-conditioned train types that continuously monitor and control the CO2 concentration, he said.

However, “our experts take feedback from customers about this issue very seriously”.

“Healing” of LGBTIQ people is to be banned in Switzerland

In Switzerland there are various groups that use controversial methods of psychotherapy claiming to change a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity.

Now two MPs have submitted a new parliamentary initiative calling for a ban on conversion therapies, “which lead to great suffering, psychological damage and even suicidal tendencies. We cannot allow that in Switzerland”, said one of the MPs, Sarah Wyss.

The parliamentary initiative seeks to make the offering and advertising of conversion measures a criminal offense and ban “such useless and harmful ‘therapies’”.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Swiss voters say big ‘yes’ to same-sex marriage

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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