800 restaurateurs demonstrate in Neuchâtel, while the National Economic Commission is asking to anchor the reopening of restaurants on March 22 in the Covid law. After the co-president of the PS, Mattea Meyer, who protested against the attacks suffered by Alain Berset, Guy Parmelin and KKS followed suit.
In France, the vaccination in company starts but slowly and in New Zealand, a city is reconfined.
■ 800 demonstrators in Neuchâtel
A demonstration against the restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic attracts nearly 800 people, according to the organizers, in Neuchâtel on Saturday. About two weeks ago, the same number had already expressed their displeasure.
The protesters had received police clearance, but many were not wearing protective masks. The police could not be reached for an estimate of the participants. Signs were brandished or slogans were chanted such as “take off your masks”, “freedom” or “that’s enough”, noted a videographer.
The first demonstration, a rally in support of restaurateurs, took place on January 9 in Neuchâtel and attracted nearly 500 people. During the second demonstration of February 13, which had been more attended, the reopening of public places (shops, restaurants, cultural places) on March 1 or from March 15 was requested. At the same time in the city of Neuchâtel, as elsewhere in Switzerland, cultural circles had demonstrated in silence with the slogan “No culture, no future”.
The restaurateurs were not heard by the authorities, they decided to demonstrate again on Saturday. In addition to the reopening of their establishments, the demonstrators are asking for better financial support, in order to survive this crisis.
■ Lombardy orders more restrictions
Italy’s Health Minister has introduced more restrictions in several regions, including wealthy Lombardy, as part of the fight against Covid-19, at the same time lifting almost all restrictions in Sardinia, according to a spokesperson.
The 20 Italian regions are divided into yellow (moderate risk), orange (medium risk) and red (high risk) zones. For the first time a region, Sardinia is going into a white zone, where the vast majority of restrictions have been lifted, except those concerning the wearing of a mask in all circumstances and social distancing.
Faced with the upsurge in new cases and new variants that are more contagious in the rest of Italy, Sardinia has decided, however, to open its activities cautiously, “monitored”, told the agency AGI the head of health in Sardinia Mario Nieddu.
■ Nice and Dunkirk inaugurate new restrictions
To curb the coronavirus epidemic, Nice and Dunkirk are inaugurating a new variant of health restrictions on Saturday, confinement on Saturday and Sunday, which threatens other large cities and departments if the situation deteriorates. In Nice, the emblematic Promenade des Anglais and the Jean-Médecin shopping avenue, almost deserted, give the appearance of a ghost town to the fifth largest city in France and the inhabitants questioned show themselves to be resigned.
On the entire coast of the Alpes-Maritimes and, at the other end of the country, in the entire urban community of Dunkirk, travel not justified by an exceptional reason is prohibited and it is again necessary to bring a certificate to walk one hour, within a maximum radius of 5 km. Only so-called essential shops will be opened, a list which now includes bookstores, added by decree.
■ The main city reconfigured in New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand’s main city, is set to be reconfigured from Sunday for at least seven days. This decision follows the discovery of new cases of Covid-19, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Saturday.
This new confinement comes less than two weeks after a three-day confinement in this city of 1.7 million inhabitants. From Sunday morning, Aucklanders will have to stay at home except for work or for basic necessities. Schools and non-essential stores will be closed. Entrances and exits from the city will be limited.
The rest of the country will be subject to level two restrictions that ban gatherings of more than 100 people and require masks to be worn on public transport.
■ Joe Biden’s vast stimulus plan adopted in the House
The American House of Representatives approves Saturday the vast stimulus plan of 1900 billion dollars (1725 billion francs) wanted by Joe Biden thanks to the votes of the Democrats alone. This is a crucial first step before its consideration in the Senate.
Time is running out to support the world’s largest economy, hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. And the new Democratic president initially wanted to see his “American rescue plan” adopted in early February. After hours of debate, the bill was passed overnight in the lower house, with Republicans denouncing measures that were too costly and poorly targeted. The text will be sent to the Senate next week, where the measure providing for an increase in the minimum income – up to $ 15 per hour, by 2025 – should be withdrawn.
■ Vaccination in the workplace starts slowly in France
Information and organization deadlines, limited supply: company vaccination against Covid-19 is starting slow this week in France, according to occupational health services actors contacted by AFP.
It officially began Thursday on a voluntary basis for employees aged 50 to 64 with comorbidities (cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity, cancers …), who are administered the AstraZeneca vaccine. “300 independent occupational physicians (internal to the company) or inter-company occupational health services (the most numerous) out of a little over 4,000 in total in France have asked to be vaccinated next week and reserved the vaccines with dispensing pharmacies, against a hundred this week, ”says the Secretary of State in charge of occupational health.
■ No, Switzerland is not a dictatorship
Following the SVP’s attacks accusing Switzerland of being a dictatorship led by Federal Councilor Alain Berset, two federal councilors reject the SVP’s accusations. They support the cautious measures taken.
The people have the last word in Switzerland, recalls the President of the Swiss Confederation Guy Parmelin in the newspapers of the press group CH Media. “Switzerland’s strength lies in its institutions,” said Swiss Minister of Justice Karin Keller-Sutter in the same interview. “If we talk about bad institutions and destabilize them, we threaten the Swiss system,” adds Guy Parmelin. It’s dangerous”.
For the co-president of the PS, Mattea Meyer, the SVP goes beyond the limits by accusing Switzerland of being a dictatorship led by Federal Councilor Alain Berset. With such assertions, the party, she said, gives an excuse to opponents of the restrictions to use violence.