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

Only people with low immunity are getting booster shots in Switzerland
Switzerland is not planning to give in to social pressure on booster vaccines. Photo by Richard Juilliart / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Free Covid screening ends

Starting today, unvaccinated people will have to pay about 50 francs to get tested.

The Federal Council originally announced that paid tests will begin on October 1st, but extended the deadline to the 11th to give people more time to get inoculated.

President Guy Parmelin said vaccinated taxpayers should not have to pay for testing for those who choose to not to get the shots.

If the screening were to remain free until January 24th, 2022 – the date the Covid certificate requirement expires – they would cost the federal government around 770 million francs.

Tests will still remain free for people who have coronavirus  symptoms and those under 16.

READ MORE: UPDATED: Unvaccinated must pay for Covid tests in Switzerland from October

Non-EU tourists to pay for Covid certificate conversion

Also from today, people coming to Switzerland from non-EU /EFTA countries — including from the US and the UK — will have to convert their health passes to a Swiss certificate and pay 30 francs for this service.

That’s because their QR codes don’t work in Switzerland.

Swiss tourism officials and ski resort operators are concerned that non-European tourists will be put off by the financial and logistical obstacles.

While neighbouring France and Germany also require certificate conversion, this procedure is free of charge there.

READ MORE: Why Switzerland’s new Covid certificate rule could dissuade skiers

End of ‘geo-blocking’ of Swiss customers on foreign sites

Swiss internet users sometimes try to buy goods abroad for less money than what comparable items cost in Switzerland. However,  certain platforms automatically redirect customers to a Swiss site, where prices are higher.

The practice of automatically redirecting customers to a Swiss platform, will no longer be tolerated from January 2022, according to NZZ am Sonntag.

A legislative change will repeal this practice, but foreign companies may refuse to deliver cheaper goods to Switzerland, NZZ said.

Booster shots still not on the Swiss horizon

While the third round of Covid vaccinations is ongoing in several countries, Switzerland is still not planning to offer widespread booster shots, according to public broadcaster SRF.

“In other countries, social pressure has meant that booster vaccinations have already started. So far, however, there is no scientific evidence that a booster is necessary “, said Raphael Ben Nescher, who heads the special Covid staff in Bern.

Some experts even argue that aside from people with weakened immunity,  booster shots are not needed for public at large, as current data shows that vaccination protection and the body’s own defense would be sufficient for most people.

Booster shots have been rolled out only for people in particularly high-risk categories in Switzerland. 

READ MORE: How can I get my Covid booster shot in Switzerland?

Threats against Swiss politicians are increasing

A new phenomenon is becoming more widespread in Switzerland since the beginning of the Covid pandemic:  threats and insults on social media against members of the Federal Council as well as MPs are on the rise.

In 2019, there were only five such reported cases, 20 in 2020, and 237 in the three-month period between January and April of this year.

Florian Näf, spokesperson for the Federal Police (Fedpol) said the threats have not only increased in number, but  “their tone has also become more aggressive” as well.

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