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

It’s best to avoid snowed-under mountain passes.
A number of mountain passes are closed due to heavy snow that fell in the Alps in recent days. Photo by Johann GRODER / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

The number of cross-border workers in Switzerland has grown

At the end of September, there were around 353,000 cross-border commuters employed in Switzerland — 3.1 percent more than in the same period in 2020, according to new data from the Federal  Statistical Office (FSO).

Just over half of the border workforce lives in France (54.9 percent), followed by residents of  Italy (24.2 percent), and Germany (17.9 percent).

Over the past five years, the number of workers from neighbouring countries who are holders of G permit, has increased from 312,000 to 353,000, corresponding to a growth of 13.0 percent.

This is how cross-border workforce has grown in Switzerland. Image: FSO

Cantons open registration for booster shots — but only to those who qualify

As a number of cantons are opening their online registration platforms for Covid booster vaccines, health authorities are reminding that these shots are available to only selected groups rather than public at large.

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) and the Federal Commission for Vaccinations have defined three groups of people eligible for a third Covid shot: seniors 65 and over; all residents of elderly care homes, including those under 65; and all “particularly vulnerable persons” suffering from serious chronic diseases, aged 16 to 64.

All the others don’t need the booster, health authorities say, because the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines protect well enough against severe cases of coronavirus

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

Swiss mountain passes close due to heavy snowfall

If you are heading to the mountains in the near future, plan your route to avoid high-altitude roads.

Among the frequently used passes, these are now closed to traffic, according to the Federal Roads Office :

  • Gotthard Pass, between Uri and Ticino
  • San Bernardino, between Graubünden and Ticino
  • Nufefen, Valais – Ticino
  •  Splügen, between Gaubünden and Italy
  • Grimsel, which connects Valais to the canton of Bern
  • Furka, between Valais and Uri
  • Susten, between Uri and Bern

Other passes, including Simplon (Valais – Italy) and Bernina (Graubünden) remain open, but they are covered with snow.

The best Swiss app for 2021 is now chosen, and the winner is…

It is  — TA-DA! — Swisstopo, the maps and geodata application, created by the Federal Office of Topography.

Recognised for its “diversity of functions, its ease of use and its innovative aspect”, Swisstopo has just won the annual “Master of Best of Swiss Apps” award in Zurich, beating 183 other projects to grab the top spot.

The expert jury explained that “despite the enormous wealth of functions, the application is extremely easy and intuitive to use.” It also underlined its “sophisticated and innovative panoramic function”.

The map and geodata application, launched in the summer, is compatible with the iOS and Android operating systems and had already been downloaded one million times.

The app offers maps and a variety of related information. Photo by Federal Office of Topography (swisstopo)

READ MORE: Eight apps to make your life in Switzerland easier

Reminder: 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.

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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