The EU changed its export rules for Covid-19 vaccines a week ago. While Switzerland was previously exempt from the obligation to obtain an export license, it was removed from the list of these countries, reports the Sunday view.
If a country procures vaccines but does not export it itself, the EU can block the vaccine. In order to defend Switzerland’s interests, State Secretary Livia Leu has approached the EU’s ambassador to Switzerland, Petros Mavromichalis, according to the newspaper.
Switzerland demands that privileged access be granted again and that it not be restricted in its trade in vaccines and active substances linked to Covid-19. The federal administration is in contact with the European Commission and has received assurances that the exclusion was not directed against Switzerland.
■ “Another effort”
In Switzerland, the President of the Confederation Guy Parmelin tempers the hopes of new rapid openings. The epidemiological situation abroad and in Switzerland reduces the room for maneuver, he warns in an interview with the Sunday newspaper.
The Federal Council has taken a step forward by reducing private meetings. But Switzerland still has to wait to open restaurants and allow larger events to be held, says Guy Parmelin.
The President of the Confederation is worried about a climate which is hardening and which is becoming more intolerant. He calls for staying disciplined: “We must once again make an effort. But we can be confident that the situation will stabilize with the progress of vaccination and that a certain normality will return in summer ”.
Guy Parmelin believes that the Federal Council should consider the idea of allowing people tested with a negative result to participate in larger events, with a view to future relief.
In addition, the Minister of the Economy pleads in favor of closer collaboration in Europe. Switzerland could, for example, help set up an industry dedicated to the development and production of vaccines. The country has a good profile to play a key role.
■ An application to list tests and vaccines
While the Confederation is still working on developing a vaccine passport, that of pharmacists is ready for use, reports Le Matin Dimanche. The Pharmacists’ Cooperative (Ofac) platform has been completed with a module related to vaccination. “We would like to offer a solution that lists the anti-Covid vaccines, and the tests, rapid or PCR, that the patient has carried out, in the form of a history”, explains Mario Magada, general manager of Ofac.
To ensure data security, the application uses trust-ID technology, developed by the Lausanne company ELCA. Mario Magada explains that he approached the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) to inform them that a turnkey solution was available. For its part, the FOPH indicates that no preliminary decision has yet been taken and that “many companies have approached the FOPH with proposed solutions, which will all be included in the assessment”.
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■ Portugal extends the closure of borders with Spain
Portugal is extending border crossing restrictions for tourists until April 15, the Interior Ministry said on Sunday. This measure was put in place at the end of January to deal with the explosion in Covid-19 cases.
This measure does not apply to the transport of goods, frontier workers and emergency services in particular.
This ban does not prevent the return to the country of Portuguese nationals and people with a residence permit, nor the exit of foreign citizens, underlines the ministry.
■ Third confinement in France
In France, since Saturday evening, the restrictions have been extended to the entire metropolis for four weeks: shops deemed non-essential closed, travel limited to 10 km, and for the first time since the spring 2020 confinement, nurseries and schools closed.
■ New events in Germany
Thousands of people gathered in Stuttgart on Saturday to demonstrate against the health measures. The debate swells in Germany on a strengthening of restrictions in the face of the third wave.
Participants “ignored” repeated requests to respect health rules, including mask wearing and social distancing, police said in a statement, without reporting any major incidents.
This movement, opposed to the measures put in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and which is called “Querdenken”, or “Anti-conformism”, has been manifesting regularly in Germany since the start of the pandemic. It brings together members of the far left, followers of conspiracy theories, detractors of vaccination as well as supporters of the far right.
They were between 15,000 and 20,000 in Cassel on March 20 for a demonstration which gave rise to clashes with the police and several arrests.