This week in Switzerland: What you need to know

Switzerland will be full of witches, ghosts, goblins, and other scary creatures this week.
Boo! Scary decorations are part of Halloween celebrations. The holiday falls on October 31st but various events take place throughout the week. Photo by Charles Parker on Pexels
From Federal Council decisions to spooky events, here's what is happening in Switzerland this week.

Mild weather in Switzerland this week

In the last days of October, mostly sunny and mild weather is expected throughout the country this week, with temperatures in double digits in the afternoons.

Switzerland’s official meteorological service, MeteoSchweiz, is referring to this kind of weather as “golden autumn”.

School goes back in German-speaking Switzerland

From Monday, school will go back after the autumn break in much of Switzerland. 

While it will give parents much needed relief and the kids an opportunity to get back in the classroom, Swiss authorities see it as a crucial metric to determine how well the country is going in the pandemic with winter approaching. 

Switzerland still trails much of Europe when it comes to vaccination rates, with the government planning a vaccination offensive over the coming weeks. 

EXPLAINED: What will Switzerland’s ‘vaccine week’ look like?

Corruption commission to make announcement in Health Minister Berset investigation

Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset, who has become the face of the government during the Covid pandemic, is under investigation for corruption in relation to an alleged affair which took place in 2019. 

Berset is accused of using state funds inappropriately after being blackmailed in regard to the affair, along with providing false information through his lawyer in the criminal proceedings and using his state-issued black limousine to get back to Bern after a trip in southern Germany. 

The Task Force TIGRIS, which is investigating the matter, will make an announcement regarding the case on Monday, 20 Minutes reports

Booster shots to be rolled out across Switzerland? 

This week could see booster shots get federal approval, with regulatory body Swissmedic telling Swiss newspaper NZZ on Saturday that approval was “imminent”. 

As it stands, only people in very high risk categories, for instance those with immunodeficiencies, have received a booster vaccination. 

READ MORE: Which Swiss cantons are already offering Covid booster shots?

Swissmedic spokesperson Lukas Jaggi said the decision needed to be backed by medical evidence and would not be influenced by rising political pressure. 

“We have the legal mandate to make decisions regardless of politics or the events of the pandemic,” Jaggi told NZZ. “The approval must be science-based, with meaningful data from controlled clinical studies that enable a risk-benefit assessment.”

“As things stand today, (while) the normal population is adequately protected with two doses; a third dose could be useful for certain people.”

Government to debate the extension of Covid certificate to more categories of residents

The Federal Council is discussing whether to extend the certificate to people whose blood test confirms the presence of Covid antibodies — proving that they had been contaminated in the past.

The consultation on this subject runs until October 26th, with the final decision will be taken on November 3rd.

Right now, people who contracted the disease and recovered from it within the past six months can receive a Covid certificate — but only if their positive status was confirmed by a PCR test.

Those who used an antigen test are excluded.

However, under the new proposal, “certificates would also be issued to anyone who can present a current positive antibody or serology test”, the Federal Council said.

READ MORE: Will Switzerland introduce antibody testing for Covid certificate

Swiss Taste and Terroir Fair

The 21st edition of the popular festival will take place from October 28th to November 1st in Bulle, Fribourg, in the picturesque Gruyère region.

With 300 exhibitors presenting their produce, it is the largest event of this kind in Switzerland.

Visitors, who must have a Covid certificate to attend the fair, will be able to discover and taste nearly 6,500 regional specialties.

More than 46,000 visitors attended this event in 2019. but last year it was canceled due to the pandemic.

Local specialties like Gruyère meringues will be on offer at the fair. Photo by La Gruyere.ch

Spooky Halloween parties across Switzerland

While the All Hallows Eve traditionally falls on October 31st, various events — for both kids and adults —will creep in (and creep you out) throughout the country this week.

It is impossible to list them all here but this link highlights some happenings in various regions.

Time is flying…backward

There’s no greater signal that winter is coming than winding back the clocks. 

On Sunday October 31st at 3 am the clocks go back one hour.

This extends the night by one whole hour – good news for anyone who likes sleeping. 

Watches on your computer and smartphone usually adjust themselves automatically, but all the other timepieces have to be rewound manually. Don’t forget to rewind before you go to bed — it’s much easier than waking up in the middle of the night to do this.


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