This week in Switzerland: What you need to know

Travel changes, Covid protests and the phasing out of a Swiss tradition - it's all in this week's wrap.

Several rotary phones sitting next to each other
Checking the weather by calling 162 is now a thing of the past in Switzerland. Photo by Bruno Cantuária from Pexels

Adieu 162: Switzerland to retire telephone weather service

Dialing 162 on the phone to hear the latest weather forecast — the service that has been in use for 30 years —  will no longer be possible from November 1st.

Due to lack of interest, Switzerland’s official weather service, MeteoSchweiz, has decided to discontinue its telephone service.

In an update on the MeteoSchweiz website, the agency confirmed the number would be given a “well-deserved retirement”. 

But in 2020, barely 350,000 calls were received on the automated service — down from about 7 million in the early 2000s.

Adieu 162: Switzerland to retire telephone weather service from Monday

Early drizzle but sunny skies all across the way later in the week

This week will see grey skies, rain and drizzle sweep across the country in the first few days of the week, with temperatures between 7°C and 13°C across the country. 

Later in the week however, things will get a little sunnier – along with a fall in the temperature. 

On Thursday the skies will clear in southern Switzerland, before clearing further on Friday in the west and northeast of the country. 

Later in the week, temperatures will sit between 2°C and 7°C in most of the country, but will rise up to 12°C in Ticino

Authorities to publish guidelines for booster shots

From November 15th, booster shots will be available for people in high risk categories and those over the age of 65.

Detailed vaccination recommendations, along with registration platforms and other details, will be published by November 4th, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). This should clarify who will be eligible to receive third doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccines. The rollout and inoculations will be managed by individual cantons.

Switzerland has come under fire for stalling on booster shots, which are already being administered in several other countries including the United States, Austria, Germany and Israel.

READ MORE: Covid booster vaccinations in Switzerland: What you need to know

Time for a Covid protest ‘of the majority’?

Since the early days of the pandemic, large protests have taken place across the country against Covid measures and vaccinations. 

However, with Switzerland’s vaccination rate still lagging that of many other countries, those who have already been vaccinated and who want a return to normality are considering taking to the streets. 

Covid-19 vaccines: Why is Switzerland lagging behind other EU countries?

Protests against those holding out on getting vaccinated could happen as early as this week, Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes reports

“The silent majority would certainly also like to take to the streets,” says Peter Metzinger, head of the pro campaign for the Covid 19 law.

While a number of smaller counter demonstrations have taken place, this would be the first time a large ‘protest of the majority’ was held in favour of government intervention and vaccinations. 

Protests are expected to take place regularly throughout November in the lead up to the 28th November referendum on Switzerland’s Covid certificate. 

Final steps for Swiss heading back to US

For the first time in 18 months, tourists – including Swiss residents – will be able to head to the United States as of Monday, November 8th. 

However, only vaccinated foreign travellers will be admitted to America.

Travellers from the US to Switzerland are encouraged to arrive at the airport at least three hours before departure, while also being sure to double check compliance with ESTA and other requirements. 

READ MORE: US to lift travel ban for vaccinated Europeans on November 8th

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.