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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
Butter is scarce in Switzerland as most milk is used to produce cheese. Photo by Pixabay

Switzerland purchases more Moderna vaccines

Even though Covid immunisations are largely stalled in Switzerland, the government purchased 7 million more doses of Moderna vaccine.

These additional  doses are scheduled to be delivered in 2023 and 2024, and used as boosters.

In the meantime, Switzerland has enough doses of both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines in case another round of vaccinations is needed this fall if, as some experts predict, the pandemic resurges.

READ MORE: Will Switzerland lift Covid restrictions amid rising infections?

Ukrainians can travel for free

Ukrainian refugees are now entitled to ride free of charge on Swiss public transport in second class on all lines within the range of validity of the general Travelcard.

This arrangement is initially valid until May 31st, according to the SwissPass Alliance.

Until now, refugees had to go through various administrative procedures upon arrival. The State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) provided them with the necessary tickets for their final destinations in Switzerland, but intra-country travel remained subject to the normal rate.

READ MORE: Switzerland’s special ‘S permit’ visa program: What Ukrainians need to know

The world’s biggest ‘peace dove’ is in the Swiss Alps

The projection of a  giant, kilometre-long white dove can now be seen on the Grand Mythen mountain in canton Schwyz. It is the largest such image ever projected in the world.

The organisation behind this idea is the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), which wanted to “spread this symbol of peace throughout Europe and the world to draw attention to children in distress in Ukraine.”

Switzerland will import 2,000 tonnes of butter

The Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) is increasing the tariff quota for butter for 2022 by 2,000 tonnes to meet the consumer demand from April 1st until the end of the year, the government announced.

According to industry estimates, locally produced butter will run out by the autumn, as most Swiss milk is transformed into cheese.

Therefore, in order to ensure sufficient and uninterrupted supply of butter, it must be purchased abroad.

In Switzerland, the demand for butter averages more than 40,000 tonnes per year, according to FOAG.

Good news on the economic front: Swiss companies don’t foresee a recession

A new survey of nearly 100 Swiss CEOs carried out by Deloitte shows that they “appear unfazed by the war in Ukraine and the widespread sanctions against Russia and Belarus”.

Despite geopolitical uncertainty and concerns about inflation, supply chains and energy prices, most of the 99 CEOs surveyed by Deloitte  still expect the economy to grow over the coming 12 months.

The majority also remain optimistic about the financial outlook for their own companies as the Swiss economy has proved very resilient after the coronavirus pandemic, the survey shows.

However, “the situation could change quickly depending on how the war unfolds”, Deloitte said.

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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Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Fewer train connections in Switzerland, cheaper housing in Zurich and the rest of the news roundup on Thursday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday

Coming soon: more affordable housing in Zurich

Rents are notoriously high in Switzerland’s largest city, but some relief is on the way.

Municipal authorities have successfully negotiated a barter deal with Welti-Furrer real estate company to offer a number of reasonably priced apartments in the Altstetten neighbourhood.

While the amount the flats are renting for was not published, Blick reports that the negotiations yielded “974 square metres of affordable living space to be rented out during 25 years”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How inflation is increasing housing costs in Switzerland

Swiss Federal Railways want to eliminate some train connections

In its draft timetable for 2023, the company (SBB ) proposes to reduce the number of trains circulating between some Swiss cities.

For instance, SBB is planning to do away with the trains departing from Bern at 7:10 am and 4:10 pm, and the departures from Zurich at 6:49 am.

Two morning connections on the Lucerne-Zurich route are also to be eliminated, along with come off-peak-hour trains in other parts on Switzerland.

However, the draft timetable for 2023 also provides for an expansion for the leisure traffic on weekends, including between Geneva and Chur.

New direct connections are also planned on the Romanshorn-Interlaken route. This means that the tourist destinations in the Bernese Oberland will be better linked to eastern Switzerland and the Zurich area.

Swissmedic to Moderna: It’s too early for second boosters

After Paul Burton, chief medical officer of the vaccine manufacturer Moderna, announced in the Swiss media this week that vaccines will have to be administered “year after year”, Switzerland’s drug regulatory body responded that second boosters are not yet planned in the country.

Swissmedic said that neither Moderna nor other vaccine manufacturers have submitted an authorisation request for a second booster in Switzerland.

In order for the process to get off the ground,the Federal Vaccinations Commission (FVC) will also have to issue a recommendation for the booster dose before it is given to all age groups.

For people over 65 or with chronic illnesses, this will likely be possible in the fall, according to FVC head. Christoph Berger.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

Switzerland wants to speed up the purchase of American fighter jets

Although the decision to buy 36 US-made F-35A planes remains controversial, the Federal Council decided to accelerate the purchase.

With a number of other countries buying these fighter jets as well, the government is concerned there could be delivery delays. “In order for Switzerland to be able to protect its population from air threats beyond 2030, it must receive its first F-35As as early as 2027”, the Federal Council said in a press release.

Under the terms of the agreement, the offer is valid only until March 31st, 2023, but “the deterioration of the security situation prompts the Federal Council to want to fill the gaps in military capabilities quicker than expected”.
No specific date is given but it will be before the March deadline, authorities said.

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]