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

“Swiss” man has his passport withdrawn.
Mistaken identity: Believed to be a citizen his whole life, a Zurich man is now “unSwissed”. Photo by Claudio Schwarz | @purzlbaum on Unsplash
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Booster shot will extend Covid certificate

Switzerland announced that its booster vaccine rollout will begin in mid-November, with shots initially administered  to people in high-risk categories as well as those “in retirement age”. 

This will have an impact on the validity on of the Covid certificate.

Christoph Berger, head of the Federal Commission for Vaccination Issues, said on Wednesday morning that boosters will extend the certificate’s validity for another 365 days (from the date of the booster shot). 

Swiss authorities had previously said that the booster shot would not extend the validity of the Covid certificate, because they were concerned people would get boosters only to extend the certificate’s validity. 

Researchers are still trying to determine the duration of post-vaccine immunity to coronavirus. It is currently believed to last more than 12 months, though at the moment there is no scientific evidence showing how long vaccinated or recovered people are protected. 

READ MORE: Switzerland approves Covid booster shot for over 65s

Health officials expect hospital admissions to increase

After a drop in the rate of coronavirus infections and hospitalisations earlier in October, the numbers are rising again, a trend that is set to continue as cold weather drives more people, including unvaccinated ones, indoors.

As the virus circulates more easily in confined spaces, Tanja Stadler, head of the Covid-19 Task Force, said she expects the number of cases to double every fortnight and, subsequently, the number of hospital admissions to increase as well.

FOPH data already shows higher numbers across Switzerland, with the highest reported in central and eastern Switzerland, especially among the 10 to 19 age group.

Gasoline-powered cars will still be permitted in Switzerland

The National Transport Committee rejected a parliamentary initiative launched by the Green Group, which was seeking to ban all petrol-fuelled vehicles from 2023, replacing them with cars powered by non-fossil fuels.

As a result, only electric vehicles and those running on hydrogen and non-fossil gasoline would be allowed on Swiss roads.

While the committee approves of greener fuels, it turned down the initiative because it “undermines the economic freedom of citizens”.

READ MORE: Where in Switzerland can you find the cheapest fuel?

Naturalisation refused to man believed to be “Swiss”

In an unusual case of mistaken identity reported by Swiss media, Switzerland’s Federal Supreme Court rejected the appeal of a young man who was mistakenly considered to be a Swiss citizen for 22 years.

The applicant, who is a resident of canton Zurich, was born in Switzerland in 1993 to a Franco-Swiss mother and a Lebanese father. The mother had obtained Swiss nationality through a previous marriage. In such cases, however, citizenship is only transmitted under very restrictive conditions.

Mistakenly considered to be Swiss all his life, the error was caught in 2015 when the man tried to renew his passport, but the authorities discovered that he is not registered in the electronic database of citizens.. He then applied for a facilitated naturalisation procedure but his request was rejected due to his difficult financial situation.

His appeal to the Switzerland’s highest court  is now denied as well on the grounds that between 2011 and 2017 he accumulated 60,000 francs in debt and also has several pending court proceedings.

READ MORE: I thought I was Swiss? How being mistaken as a national can put you on the road to citizenship

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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