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

Sink holes have disrupted rail traffic between Geneva airport and Lausanne.
Train traffic to and from Geneva airport (in photo) will remain disrupted until November 16. Photo: SBB
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

New Covid cases soar in Switzerland

On Thursday, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has reported 3,886 new cases registered in Switzerland since the previous day.

This number is four-times higher than daily infections detected in the country in mid-October.

The Local will publish an article today explaining this significant increase, and what Swiss health experts are forecasting for the coming weeks.

Rail service between Geneva airport and Lausanne not yet fully resumed

Train traffic on the line has been disrupted since Tuesday,  due to sink holes opening up on the tracks between the two cities.

Even though 25 cubic metres of concrete have been poured into the holes to stabilise the ground, Swiss Federal Railways said full service would likely not resume before November 16th.

Only four trains per hour and per direction are now in service, running at reduced speed, and the cancelled ones are being replaced by buses between Allaman and Morges.

“SBB asks you to refrain from non-essential travel on this route”, the company said.

This link shows which trains are still operating on the line.

Swiss economist: “Unvaccinated should pay their own hospital bills”

The debate over who should assume the cost of hospitalisation for unvaccinated people is not new, with some Swiss health experts saying that those who choose to remain unvaccinated should pay for their own healthcare costs if they get sick with Covid.

The latest voice in support of this stance is economics professor Marius Brülhart, who argues that vaccine holdouts should take out supplemental health insurance and use it cover any coronavirus healthcare costs they incur.

“Unvaccinated people have a much higher risk of ending up in hospital and these treatments are very expensive”, he said, estimating the cost for each infected patient at between 25,000 and 30,000 francs.

As 90 percent of patients admitted to Swiss hospitals are not vaccinated, “they should be responsible for their choice not to get immunised and participate in the costs incurred for their care”, according to Geneva’s health director Mauro Poggia.

“People who got vaccinated don’t want to bear the consequences of the choices others make. Neither does our economy”, he added.

READ MORE: Should you buy supplemental health insurance in Switzerland?

Swiss economy is strong despite the pandemic

One of the signs of booming economy is a high number of new companies.

In Switzerland, more than 41,000 start-ups have been entered into the commercial register since the beginning of the year, signalling continued economic growth.

In fact. three quarters of Swiss CFOs interviewed by Deloitte professional services network forecast that the Swiss economy will continue to grow throughout 2021-

Geneva to vote on extended shop openings

In addition to national referendums, a series of local issues will also come up for vote on November 28th.

In Geneva, voters will have their say — for the third time in five years — on a still-unresolved issue: whether to extend opening hours of stores.

Specifically at stake is allowing retailers to open for business three Sundays a year, in addition to December 31st, which is a public holiday in Geneva. Voters will also decide whether shops can stay open on Saturdays until 7 pm — one hour more than currently.

While trade unions and left-wing political groups oppose the proposed change, others, including employers’ associations and retailers back this proposal, arguing that extended openings will help “reduce online shopping and shopping tourism” to neighbouring France, according to  Louise Barradi, president of the Geneva Federation of Commerce.

READ MORE: What’s at stake in Switzerland’s Covid referendum on November 28th?

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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