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

Health expert says that if vaccinated, the elderly can interact with their grandchildren
Contacts with the grandchildren don’t have to be limited if grandparents are vaccinated. Photo by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Vaccination Week starts in Switzerland today

A large-scale offensive to boost Switzerland’s inoculation rate will begin across the country today and continue until November 14th.

The aim of the campaign is to persuade more holdouts to get jabbed, as Switzerland’s immunisation rate, 64,12 percent, is trailing behind the European average.

“It is only with a significantly higher vaccination rate that the population can be protected against severe forms of the disease and that the health system can avoid overloading its capacities”, the government said about the campaign.

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

Rebel village refuses vaccinations

As cantons throughout Switzerland are getting ready to launch the Vaccination Week today, the village of  Alpthal in Schwyz is refusing to allow the vaccination bus to enter its territory, Swiss media reports.

Local elected officials banned the mobile unit — one of many that will be used by health authorities throughout the country to immunise local residents this week — from entering the village to inoculate its 600 inhabitants.

The village president, Adelbert Inderbitzin, said that “there is no need for vaccination in Alpthal”.

In response to Alpthal’s stance, the cantonal Health and Social Affairs Office said “We always hear that it is about people’s freedom. If you value individual freedom then you should let the residents decide for themselves” whether to get jabbed.

Schwyz is among several cantons in central Switzerland, whose number of new Covid infections exceeds the national average.

Travel to America

The moment many travellers from Switzerland have been waiting for is  here at last: after 18 months of restrictions, America is opening its borders to international travel.
 
However, only vaccinated  tourists will be allowed entry into the United States.

To respond to what travel officials expect to be a growing demand for US-bound flights, United Airlines will start flying nonstop between Newark and Geneva this month and SWISS will operate up to four direct flights a week to JKF from December 14th.

Direct flights between Zurich and the two US airports will also resume in November.

Other airlines will also expand their service between the US airports and the two Swiss hubs.

You can see here (in German) which US-bound flights are planned.

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

Swiss health authorities: Price of 300 drugs set to decrease

The prices of medications will drop from December 1st, resulting in a savings of at least 60 million francs, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

The price of 220 prescription drugs — including those used to treat skin, nervous system, and blood conditions, will decline by 10 percent on average.

The cost of about 40 percent of generics examined by FOPH will also be reduced.

But even despite price reductions, cost of medications in Switzerland remains higher than in other major European markets.

Good news for the elderly: they won’t have to be isolated from families

During the first coronavirus wave in the spring of 2020, seniors in Switzerland were told not to go out of the house or mingle with family members for fear of contracting the disease.

Now, even though the number of infections is on the rise again, there is no reason “to restrict the interactions” of older people, provided they are fully vaccinated, said Rudolf Hauri from the Association of Cantonal Doctors 

Contacts with the grandchildren don’t have to be limited either as they had been during the height of the pandemic, according to Hauri, but “caution must be exercised because even if vaccinated, vulnerable people should avoid being around those who have Covid symptoms”.

If children were exposed to infected people, they should not visit their grandparents for at least 10 days, he added.

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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