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

Only Swiss citizens are allowed to join police force in Zurich. Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Only Swiss citizens are allowed to join police force in Zurich. Photo by FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Some Covid tests will be free, but not all

Last Thursday, the National Council accepted the principle of free tests to detect Covid-19, but Council of States has now chosen to leave greater leeway to the Federal Council to set exceptions.

The upper house of the parliament voted to allow the government to provide for “exceptions to the assumption of costs” of some tests, including PCR and serological screening not ordered by the canton.

Only antigen tests, valid for 24 hours since December 6th as well as pooled PCR tests would be free of charge.

READ MORE: Will Switzerland make Covid testing free once more?

MP calls for compulsory vaccination for the elderly

National Councilor Ruth Humbel is calling for a vaccination mandate for everyone from the age of 65, arguing that Switzerland’s law on epidemics allows  cantons to make “vaccinations of endangered population groups compulsory”.

For Humbel, who is a also a member of the Health Committee, it is clear that “young people have made many sacrifices in the past two years. It has always been about protecting the elderly in the pandemic ”.

“We now also need a certain solidarity of people aged 65 and over towards young people”, she said.

Geneva: The mask will soon be compulsory in classroom from eight years old

Students in the canton’s schools will soon have to wear the mask from the fifth year of primary school, that is, from the age of eight. Currently, it is obligatory from 12.

The measure is intended to reduce the high rate of absenteeism in primary school and also aims to protect the population as a whole, according to the canton’s Department of Employment Security and Health.The new rule will be implemented gradually in the coming days.

Few Covid deaths among fully vaccinated

Only a few people who had been fully inoculated against Covid  have died from coronavirus in Swiss hospitals since the start of the year, according to an assessment of the Covid-19 surveillance system of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

Since the start of vaccination in December 2020 and until the end of August this year, the reporting system, in which 20 Swiss hospitals participate, recorded 5,928 Covid-related hospitalisations; of these patients, 495 died.

Only 14 victims were doubly vaccinated. Five of them were over 80, five between 70 and 79 and four between 60 and 69. Of those who died, 44 had been vaccinated with only one dose.

By far the largest share of deaths (437, or about 88 percent) was recorded among the unvaccinated people.

Of the 5,928 patients who were hospitalised, 5,488 (93 percent) were not vaccinated At the same time, only 153 people had to be treated in hospital despite a double vaccination.

READ MORE: Unvaccinated ‘three times more contagious’ than vaccinated in Switzerland

Zurich doesn’t want foreigners as police officers

The cities of Zurich and Winterthur have allowed holders of a C permit to join the police force. But the cantonal parliament is overriding this decision, making Swiss citizenship a prerequisite for police training.

Deputy Nina Fehr Düsel, who represents the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP) in the cantonal parliament is behind this initiative.

She argued that the police are executing Swiss laws, so it is logical that police officers should have Swiss passports.

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