Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Government may order gas-saving measures for winter, including less heating. Photo: Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay

Government mulls gas restrictions, good news about Covid immunity, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Thursday.


Government to decide on concrete energy-saving measures

Authorities are examining a plan of action to cut energy consumption by at least 15 percent this coming winter, the Federal Council announced on Wednesday. It is looking at “various options of consumption restrictions, bans, and quota systems” to be implemented.

As soon as there is a real risk of shortage, “calls to reduce consumption will be made to all gas consumers”, the Federal Council said. If the shortage persists despite these calls for voluntary measures, authorities “may order the interruption of gas supply from all switchable installations”.

Concrete actions will be decided on August 31st, and will be passed on to cantons for consultations.

"These measures will come into effect only in the event of a shortage and would be adapted according to the situation”, the Federal Council added. “For example, regions may be affected differently by the gas shortage.”

READ MORE: How can you save on your household energy bills in Switzerland?


Nearly everyone in Switzerland is immune to coronavirus

Over 97 percent of the population has developed immunity to Covid, either thanks to vaccines or infections, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Wednesday.

Nevertheless, the Federal Council warns of a renewed wave of infections in autumn.

In September, FOPH and the Federal Commission for Vaccination will announce their recommendations for second boosters, expected to begin in October and using, pending official approval, vaccines adapted to the new variants.

Switzerland buys monkeypox vaccine, at last

Even though other countries are immunising at-risk people, Switzerland has not done so, as it does not have third-generation vaccines needed to combat this disease.

However, the government is now finally buying 100,000 doses of vaccines against smallpox, including 40,000 to fight against monkeypox, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Wednesday.

It will also purchase 500 units of a drug against the disease to prevent complications.

The government dragged its feet in launching the vaccine because, according to Health Minister Alain Berset, “we first tried to understand how much we would have to buy. Then the quantities available were too small to have quick access. It was very complex, there were a lot of things to clarify”.


Geneva considers distributing iodine tablets to some residents

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, many in Switzerland worry about nuclear reactors being bombed, releasing radioactive substances that can cause thyroid cancer.

Iodine tablets, believed to protect the thyroid gland from radiation, were already distributed to everyone living within a 50-km radius around Swiss power plants.

For the others, it is up to the cantons to ensure that their entire population receives these tablets within 12 hours after a national order is given.

Although Geneva is located 70 km from the nearest reactor, cantonal officials want to undertake a “preventive distribution to children, young adults and pregnant women”, said Laurent Paoliello, spokesperson for the Department of Security, Population and Health.

A stock would be maintained for the rest of the population, who would get iodine in case of emergency.


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