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Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Tuesday

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

Bahnhofstrasse (here in Zurich) is one of the most common street names in Switzerland. Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash
Bahnhofstrasse (here in Zurich) is one of the most common street names in Switzerland. Photo by Tomek Baginski on Unsplash

Switzerland still trails its neighbours in Covid vaccination

According to data from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), 68.11 percent of Switzerland’s population is fully vaccinated as at January 23rd.

While the numbers are climbing – though slowly — the country still lags behind neighbour nations and is below the European Union average as well.

Switzerland has still not caught up with other nations’  immunisation rate. Image by Our World in Data

English language more common in Switzerland, new study shows

The distribution of the national languages has seen “moderate change” in the past four decades, according to a new study by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO)  

The proportion of German, Italian and Romansh spoken as people’s main language(s) have fallen, while those of French, along with non-national languages, especially English and Portuguese, have increased, primarily due to immigration.

This FSO chart shows what languages are spoken in Switzerland’s households.

READ MORE: How did Switzerland become a country with four languages?

Few children vaccinated against Covid

The rollout of vaccinations for children between the ages of five to 12 began in Switzerland on January 3rd, but has been slow to start, according to reports from cantons.

To date, 32,000 children — 5.2 percent of that age group — have received their shots, with the highest number in the Swiss-German part of the country.

Eight cantons exceeded the national average: Basel-City (12.8 percent), Basel-Country (11.8), Zurich (7.7), Aargau  (7.4), Berm (7.1), Zug (6.7) and Lucerne (6.4).

Although some parents are reluctant to inoculate their children against Covid because of concerns over side effects, “clinical trial results show that the vaccine is safe and effective in this age group”, health experts said.

READ MORE: Several Swiss cantons start children’s Covid vaccination

Cyberattack on Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) results in the leak of one million people’s data

As customers of several public transport companies could no longer renew their subscription online, the SBB restored access with the old mechanism in December 2021.

This decision inadvertently led to a loophole in security.

The leaked data contained information on tickets purchased and/or the validity period of subscriptions, SBB said. About half of the data was exclusively related to customers’ names and dates of birth.

However, “no information was leaked about the place of residence, means of payment, passwords and email addresses. The other half of the data contained impersonal information about tickets purchased from vending machines”.

The company added it was able to remedy this flaw and “unauthorised automated viewing of data is no longer possible”.

These are the most common street names in Switzerland

There are about 93,000 street names in Switzerland, and Watson news platform looked at which ones are the most common across the country. 

The result of their finding: Dorfstrasse – literally ‘village street’ is the most prevalent, found in 652 Swiss municipalities and communes.

It is followed by Hauptstrasse (553) (main street), and Bahnhofstrasse (524) (station street). 

The longest street name — Georg-Friedrich-Heilmann-Strasse —can be found Biel / Bienne .

The above may not fall under the ‘news you can use’ category, but it may be worth committing to memory anyway — this is just the kind of questions could be asked on the citizenship test.

READ MORE: Would you pass a Swiss citizenship test?

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 Wednesday

Another case of monkeypox found in Switzerland, Covid boosters could no longer be free, and other Swiss news in our daily roundup.

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

Second case of monkeypox found in Switzerland

The virus was detected in a person in Geneva, who was contaminated “during a trip abroad”, the canton’s Health Department has confirmed.

It added that the infected person “is currently in isolation, his general condition is good and does not currently require hospitalisation”.

Contact tracing is underway to find people who have been exposed to the sick person, the canton said.

This is the second known case of monkeypox in Switzerland, following the one detected in Bern on Saturday in a person who also contracted the virus while travelling abroad.

Globally, about 90 cases have been detected so far.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What is monkeypox and what is Switzerland doing about it?

Health authorities: Travellers should pay for Covid boosters themselves

According to newest recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), people travelling abroad who need second booster doses must pay for the shots themselves.

As the fourth vaccine dose is currently recommended only for people with a severely weakened immune system, everyone outside of this group will be charged as yet undefined fee.

Until now, all the Covid vaccinations had been free of charge.

The proposal was sent to the cantons for consultation until June 1st. If agreed on, the Federal Council will adjust the Epidemics Ordinance accordingly on June 10th.

Additional trains in service over the  Ascension and Pentcoast weekends

Road traffic is typically very heavy during the two holiday weekends, falling this year on May 26th – 29th and  June  4th – 6th, respectively.

For travellers who prefer to take the train during this busy period, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), is “significantly expanding” its service towards Ticino, one of the most popular destinations for public holiday weekends.

“There will be numerous additional trains. We will also be increasing the number of seats available on regular trains”, including between Zurich/Basel and Ticino via the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the company announced.

Switzerland and NATO want ‘closer ties’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reassured Swiss Defense Minister Viola Amherd on Tuesday that the military alliance would maintain a strong partnership with Switzerland.

He said he is “open to closer ties”— a message that “was very important because I want a close collaboration” too, Amherd responded.

Even though some Swiss politicians are pushing for a greater degree of NATO integration due to uncertainties related to war in Ukraine, Switzerland cannot become a member because of its longstanding policy of neutrality.

Switzerland has nevertheless a relationship with the organisation through its Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, and also participates in military exercises with NATO related to cyberattacks.

“We are studying the question” of how Switzerland can further its collaboration with NATO without compromising its neutrality, Amherd said.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why isn’t Switzerland in NATO

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]