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.
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”.
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.
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.
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