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

Geneva residents will have to do all their shopping before 6 pm.
Shops in Geneva will not be allowed to stay open until 7 om on Saturdays. Photo by Axel Heimken / AFP)
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Most Swiss politicians welcome the outcome of Covid law referendum

The majority of political parties, as well as the economic sector, expressed their relief and satisfaction over the results of Sunday’s referendum, when 62 percent of Swiss voters backed the government’s stance on managing the pandemic, particularly in regards to the Covid certificates.

In a statement echoed by most other political groups, Charles Juillard, vice-president of the Center Party, said that “The population continues to clearly support the measures chosen by the Federal Council and the Parliament”.

Read our article today about how the supporters and opponents of the law reacted to the referendum results.

READ MORE: Swiss voters back Covid pass law

First Omicron case detected in Switzerland

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Sunday night that the first probable case of the Omicron variant — the new Covid strain discovered in parts of Africa that is already present in several European countries — was found in Switzerland in a person who returned from South Africa about a week ago.

“Sequencing will bring certainties in the days to come”, FOPH said.

READ MORE: Omicron variant poses ‘high to very high’ risk to Europe: EU health agency

Covid vaccine would have prevented 2,600 deaths in Switzerland

The regional office of World Health Organisation (WHO) has published research estimating the number of lives saved by coronavirus vaccination in various European countries.

In Switzerland, that number, for the period from December 2020 until now, is 2,643 —211 among those aged 60-69, 495 among people 70-79, and 1,937 among the elderly aged 80 and over.

“What this study shows is that vaccines do what they promise, which is to save lives, offering very high protection against severe forms and death”. said Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe

This link shows statistics for Switzerland and other European countries.

Majority of Swiss are in favour of compulsory vaccination

Making Covid vaccines obligatory is a hot-button topic, with Austria already being the first western country to mandate the vaccine from February 2022.

Although this move is not planned for Switzerland for the time being, a poll published in Swiss media shows that 53.1 percent of the population is in favour of compulsory vaccination, while 45.1 percent support confinement for the unvaccinated.

Vaccination mandate for certain sectors — including healthcare — meets with an even higher approval rate of 69 percent.

However, vast majority of respondents — 78.2 percent — are against new confinement of the entire population.

READ MORE: Will Switzerland make the Covid vaccine compulsory?

Geneva refuses to extend store openings on Saturdays

One of the issues voted in Geneva’s cantonal referendum on Sunday was whether to allow shops to stay open until 7 pm on Saturdays — one hour longer than currently

More than 53 percent of Genevans, however, heeded the calls of trade unions and left parties to reject this proposal in order to protect people in retail industry from working extra hours.

“We are very happy. Genevans understood that this was for the benefit of employees”, said Davide De Filippo, president of Geneva Union Action Community.

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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