Roche releases monkeypox tests, Russians are still vacationing in Switzerland, and more in our roundup of Swiss news from May 24 – 27.
Swiss government destroys Covid vaccines
Government officials will destroy 620,000 doses of Moderna Covid vaccines, as their expirations dates have already passed, according to health policy expert Patrick Durisch who says Switzerland purchased too many. “We are talking about 34 million doses for a country of over 8 million inhabitants. If we remove the children and those who are reluctant to get vaccinated, we have five to six doses per person,” Durisch said in an interview with RTS radio. Read more (French).
Should bus riders or drivers bear the brunt of high diesel prices?
Some Swiss government officials are calling for a discount in public transport prices this summer to offset the higher energy prices, a side effect of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Germany has introduced nine-euro tickets for the summer; National Council member Matthias Aebischer says Switzerland should consider their neighbor’s model. “Instead of making petrol and diesel cheaper, the federal government should follow Germany’s example,” Aebischer said this week. Meanwhile, officials representing Switzerland’s transportation sector say the model is a short-term fix. “We want a sustainable solution — the nine-euro ticket is certainly not it,” said Ueli Stückelberger, director of the Association of Public Transport. Read more (German).
Roche rolls out monkeypox PCR tests
Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche announced this week that it has manufactured and made available PCR tests for testing Monkeypox cases, only a few weeks after the rare disease has arrived on the European continent. The tests are available to scientists “in the majority of countries worldwide,” the company said. More than 200 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed across several European countries, North America and Australia. Although symptoms appear to be mild, the disease is contagious. The timing is also ideal for Roche as the company has predicted a steep decrease in sales this year after posting $2 billion in Covid-related sales for the first quarter of 2022. Read more.
How Russians continue to vacation in Switzerland
Despite all flights between Russia and Switzerland being cancelled since the beginning of the Russo-Ukrainian war, Russians are still finding their way to the Alpine nation for vacations – mostly in Zermatt and St. Moritz. According to a new Blick report, Russian travel agencies have advised Russian travelers fly to Dubai or Turkey and then hop on flights to Switzerland. And these travelers must be wealthy, as a one-week holiday for two people including a round-trip flight from Russia to Switzerland (via Turkey or Dubai) costs about 6,700 CHF, according to Blick. In Russian terms, that is 450,000 rubles; an average monthly salary in Russia is 56,000 rubles (or 828 CHF). Read more (French).