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

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Grounded: the two airlines have bowed out of flying to some Middle-East destinations. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Further flights from Switzerland to the Middle East are suspended; some medications bought abroad could be paid by Swiss health insurance; and more news in our roundup on Thursday.


Update: The latest on flights from Switzerland to the Middle East

Continuing political uncertainty in the region prompted cancellations of some flights from Switzerland to conflict-ridden areas in the Middle East.

Last week, SWISS airline announced that due to growing tensions and insecurity in the region, the airline would not cross the airspace over Iran, suspending the flights to Tehran and Beirut until at least April 18th.

On Wednesday, however, the airline said these flights “will remain cancelled up to, and including, April 30th, 2024.

However, SWISS has resumed its flights to Tel-Aviv on Tuesday.
EasyJet meanwhile announced that all its flights to the Israeli city, initially cancelled until April 21st, will remain suspended until the end of October.
The budget airline usually operates flights to Tel-Aviv from Geneva and Basel. 

Medicatons purchased abroad could be refunded in Switzerland

The National Council approved a motion on Wednesday, asking that generic medicines purchased in neighboring countries be reimbursed by the basic health insurance in Switzerland. 
The parliament reacted favourably to this motion because the same generic drugs cost less — sometimes by much — in other European countries, so in the end, this move would save health insurance carriers a considerable amount of money.

The National Council will weigh in on this issue next.


Swiss MPs move to ban Nazi symbols

The National Council accepted on Wednesday a proposal from the Legal Affairs Committee of the Council of States, aimed at prohibiting the use, wearing, and public distribution of propaganda objects and racist symbols advocating violence — whether it be gestures, words, salutes or flags.

“Those who tolerate extremist symbols or gestures also tolerate racism and hatred. We must apply zero tolerance,” said deputy Philipp Matthias Bregy.

Another MP, Philippe Nantermod, stressed that the move doesn’t mean restricting freedom of expression, but, rather, protecting citizens who are potential victims of these threats.

READ ALSO : Swiss parliament wants ban on extremist symbols


The campaign for lower health insurance premiums is launched

The campaign for a law capping the cost of health insurance at 10 percent of disposable income was launched on Wednesday in Bern.

The so-called “premium relief” initiative will be voted on in a national referendum on June 9th.  

“Today, premiums have become too expensive for the middle class,” according to the Social Democratic Party, which spearheaded the move. 

The government, however, urges the ‘no’ vote, having drawn up its own proposal, which calls for cantons to automatically increase financial assistance to those who need it when the cost of health insurance rises.

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