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

One in five Swiss trains arrives and departs late.
Not exactly on a fast track: A number of Swiss trains can’t keep up with a schedule. Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Positive feedback from Switzerland’s Vaccination Week

The major inoculation campaign, held from November 8th to 14th, has been successful, health officials say.

Preliminary data indicates that while there has not been a dramatic increase in the rate of vaccinations, figures show a slight rise in the number of people receiving a first dose, according to Lukas Engelberger, president of the Conference of Cantonal Doctors.

Also, the campaign’s objective to raise public’s awareness about the importance of vaccination has been achieved, Engelberger said.

“This will likely show up in the vaccination numbers in the coming weeks”, he added.

Between last Monday and Thursday, 20,913 new people received their shots — 4.500 more that during the previous week but fewer than during the same period  a month ago, when more than 25,000 first doses were administered.

Latest figures from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) indicate that 64.7 of adults in Switzerland are fully vaccinated. This number goes up to 73.62 percent when people 12 years and older are included in the statistics.

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

The third Covid dose will soon be available for general public

Starting today, Switzerland is officially starting to administer booster vaccines to people over 65 and those deemed to be “at risk” due to health problems.

Some cantons began to offer boosters last week already.

Authorities kept saying population at large will not get third shots anytime soon, as no studies show the need for healthy younger people to get “boosted”.

However, Swiss media reports that given the surge in the number of infections, health officials changed their minds and will announce their decision to offer the third dose to everyone who wants it “very soon”.

“Difficult winter ahead”, new measures expected, Swiss health expert predicts

Tanja Stadler, head of the Covid-19 Task Force, is pessimistic about the evolution of the epidemiological situation in Switzerland in the coming weeks.

In view of the significant increase in cases , “it is clear  that winter will be difficult “, she said. warning that hospitals might have to admit 30,000 coronavirus patients.

As a consequence, “the Federal Council will not be able to avoid seriously considering new measures in the coming weeks”.

One in five Swiss trains is late

Perhaps this tidbit would not even be worth mentioning if you come from a country where timeliness is not a priority, but in Switzerland, which has always prided itself on punctuality of its railway network, this news is worrying.

In October, for instance, the punctuality, which indicates the number of trains travelling with a delay of less than three minutes, was 90.6 percent across the network.

Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) attributes this sorry state of affairs to shortage of mechanics, power failures, and defective doors.

“From a structural point of view, there is not much to improve. The railway is a technical environment. Flawless railway operation is not possible”, according to David Fattebert, head of SBB’s punctuality program (yes, there really is such a thing).

READ MORE: Geneva-Lausanne line will not resume full service before Tuesday

Neighbourhood argument erupts over garden gnome’s buttocks 

There are apparently no other problems in Fricktal, Aargau to occupy its residents because the biggest news coming out of the rural area in the north of the country is a court case involving a garden gnome.

An elderly couple is suing their neighbour because she refuses to move her butt-naked garden gnome, which is facing directly the pensioners’ kitchen window.

“When I look north, I see an ass”, the indignant husband testified in a district court.

For the prosecution — yes, the couple actually hired an attorney — the accused deliberately placed the offensive gnome in the couple’s field of vision, an accusation that the gnome owner vehemently denies.  

As the plaintiffs consider the incident to be “an attack on their honour”, they request that the gnome owner be fined of 1,050 francs.

Do you want to make sure you are a good neighbour? Displaying fully clothed gnomes notwithstanding, there are some rules to follow. You can read about them here:

READ MORE: Eight ways you might be annoying your neighbours (and not realising it) in Switzerland

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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