Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Decision on booster vaccines, and more Covid cases: this and other news from Switzerland on Wednesday
Second boosters: not before fall
The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that second booster shots for general population will be available in the fall, “when the risk for individuals and the burden on the healthcare system will be greatest".
Right now, those with a weakened immune system and people over the age of 80 are the only ones eligible for free vaccines.
However, people who are travelling to countries where proof of up-to-date immunisation is required but whose Covid certificates are no longer valid, can receive the fourth dose but upon request have to pay for the shot.
Covid cases continue to climb
While health authorities are stalling with making second boosters available to general public, the number of coronavirus cases announced by FOPH on Tuesday in its weekly report has increased by 40 percent in a span of seven days.
Some 46,025 new contaminations were detected in the week between June 28th and July 5th, up from 33,108 cases the week before, and 24,704 three weeks ago.
The steadily growing rate of infections is in line with epidemiologists’ warnings about the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron sub-variants.
Shopping tourism: Fewer Swiss buy in Germany
Even though the euro is at near parity with the franc, and purchasing goods abroad is now cheaper, up to 30 percent fewer Swiss shop in Germany now than prior to Covid pandemic.
The reasons for this trend reversal are unclear, but German shopkeepers are unhappy.
“This is causing headaches for German merchants in the border area. The decline in the number of Swiss shoppers is dramatic”, according to Claudius Marx, general manager of the Hochrhein-Bodensee Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“The Swiss still have significantly higher purchasing power than our northern neighbours. They could also combine the shopping trip with filling up the car. In Germany, petrol and diesel are cheaper than in Switzerland”, he added.
Switzerland’s population is nearing 9 million
At the start of 2022, 8,736,500 people lived in Switzerland. Six months later, at the beginning of July, 100,000 more were registered, government data shows.
This growth spurt is due mainly to foreigners: Out of 100,00 new arrivals, 60,000 are people who have fled Ukraine, in addition to 32,700 immigrants from other countries and 6,800 asylum seekers.
In all, 200,000 more people, mostly foreigners, could be living living in Switzerland in the near future, swelling the number of residents to nearly 9 million.
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