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Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Railway works will impact traffic in the west of Switzerland.
Switzerland’s usually reliable train network will be disrupted on some lines this weekend. Photo by SBB.

Rail traffic to be disrupted in western Switzerland

Due to major works underway to maintain and develop railway infrastructure, disruptions are to be expected on several lines, according to Swiss Federal Railways (SBB).

From Friday at 10 pm and until Monday morning, no more trains will run between Neuchâtel and Biel. Direct express buses will be in service between the two cities, and regional buses will serve the intermediate stations.

Works will also disrupt train service between La Chaux-de-Fonds and Bern, and between Neuchâtel and Fribourg.

Additionally, parts of the Lake Geneva region will be impacted. The line between Lausanne and Vevey will end at the Cully station, and most InterRegio trains between Geneva-Airport and Brig will be affected as well.

On the following two weekends, November 13th and 14th as well as November 20th and 21st, rail traffic will be disrupted around Lausanne, with many trains normally passing through Lausanne being canceled or running on a modified schedule, SBB said.

You can see all the updates on the SBB app.

Some of Switzerland-based foreigners are reluctant to get Covid shots

The rate of unvaccinated people among immigrants from southeastern Europe is almost twice as high as for Swiss citizens.

A new survey carried out by Sotomo research institute on behalf of Swiss Broadcasting  Corporation shows the reluctance to roll up the sleeves is particularly widespread among people from the Balkans.

The Portuguese too are much less willing to get the jab than their Swiss counterparts, the survey found.

However, Arber Bullakaj, a Swiss MP born in Kosovo, said  “the desire to be vaccinated has nothing to do with nationality”.

He points out that the age structure of migrants is different from that of the population as a whole. They are younger, and fewer people in this age group get inoculated, regardless of nationality.

Also, the Sotomo survey found that people with less education and lower income are generally more reluctant to get vaccinated, and many immigrants fall into this category.

Swiss pediatrician: No Covid vaccines for young kids

The United States has began to administer coronavirus vaccines to children ages five to 11, after the American Academy of Pediatrics approved this move.

Switzerland, however, is in no hurry to follow America’s lead, according to Philipp Jenny, president of Swiss Pediatrics association.

In an interview with SRF public broadcaster, Jenny said that the situation in Switzerland with regard to young children getting infected with Covid is less dramatic than in the USA.

In America, “a large number of children had to go to hospital this autumn due to coronavirus, but in Switzerland we only had a few serious cases”.

However, “if a new variant emerges during the winter that is much more dangerous for younger kids, or if there is an increase in hospital admissions for children, things will look different”.

Vaccines for this age group are set to be approved in Switzerland in the near future..

READ MORE: Switzerland set to approve Covid vaccines for children

Homeowner refuses to sell house to vaccinated clients

In a bizarre twist, potential property buyers lost their chance to purchase a house when they revealed to the owner that they were vaccinated against Covid.

As reported by Watson news outlet, a couple from the Neuchâtel region was negotiating with the homeowner to purchase her house and the process was nearly completed when they mentioned, during an aside conversation about the pandemic, that they had their Covid shots.

At that point the owner who, according to the couple, was an anti-vaxxer, refused to sell her house to them.

Even though Swiss law forbids discrimination based on one’s vaccine status, this applies to public entities and employers only.

However, when it comes to transactions between private individuals, “the seller can refuse to sell to you just because he doesn’t like your face”, said a legal expert quoted by Watson.

“This is contractual freedom”.

READ MORE: Why Switzerland’s Covid certificate is ‘not discriminatory’

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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For members


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

From high standard of living to expiring Covid certificates — find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

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

 Switzerland’s standard of living higher than in most of Europe

A new survey by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has ranked Switzerland in third place, behind Luxembourg and Norway, in terms of distribution of income and the standard of living.

“The standard of living in Switzerland remains one of the highest in Europe. This means that despite the high price levels, the population’s financial situation, after deduction of obligatory expenditures, is more comfortable than that of its neighbouring countries and countries in the European Union”, OFS said.

The average disposable income in Switzerland for 2020 —  the last year for which official data is available —was 2.1 times higher than that of Portugal, 1.4 times higher than that of France, 1.2 times higher than that of Germany ,and 1.1 times higher than that of Austria, according to FSO.


READ MORE: What is the average salary for (almost) every job in Switzerland?

Millions of Covid certificates expire soon — what’s next?

As certificates are valid for nine months after the second vaccine dose or a booster, “millions of Swiss Covid certificates will expire by autumn at the latest”, according to 20 Minutes.

Since many countries still require a vaccination certificate for entry, and as the second round of boosters is not yet available in Switzerland,  this means that a large number of people may not be able to travel abroad.

And while other countries have already started to administer second booster shots, Swiss health authorities are dragging their feet, not having even issued a recommendation for the fourth dose yet.

This worries some MPs, who are calling on the government to make second boosters available soonest possible.

 “The past has shown that cantons are not always sufficiently prepared. Something like this mustn’t happen again”, said MP Fabian Molina, adding that anyone travelling abroad should be able to be re-vaccinated.   

Another deputy, Yvonne Feri, noted that the federal government and the cantons have to prepare to vaccinate again within a short period of time.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

Meteorologist: Get ready for very hot summer

It has been hot in much of Switzerland over the last few days, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees in some parts of the country.  But this is just a ‘foretaste’ of what lies ahead.

While this week is expected to be a bit cooler — more seasonal lower 20s —forecasts for the summer months call for even more intense heat. “It will be hotter than usually,” according to Thomas Buchel, head of SRF Meteo.

“New heat records are very likely. It would be surprising if it went in another direction”, he said.

READ MORE: Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

Switzerland purchases Paxlovid to fight Covid

The medication, manufactured by Pfizer, is given to “patients at increased risk of developing a severe form of the disease”, The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced.

The government is buying 12,000 packages of the drug, to be administered initially in cantonal medical centres before it can be prescribed by general practitioners and be available in pharmacies. The government will bear the costs of the outpatient treatment.

Though the antiviral pill is not yet officially approved by the regulatory body, Swissmedic, “it can, under COVID-19 Ordinance 3, be used for the treatment of patients while the authorisation procedure is in progress”, FOPH sai

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]