How do Covid-19 restrictions impact public transport in Switzerland?

Some night and long-distance services have been cut as a result of Switzerland's shutdown.

How do Covid-19 restrictions impact public transport in Switzerland?
Night trains will no longer circulate on weekends. Photo by AFP

Since the Federal Council ordered the closure of bars and restaurants at 11pm, and some Swiss cantons went even further by shutting these venues altogether.

Starting on November 7th, “public transport companies are stopping their night service, operated in the early morning hours on weekends”, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) said in a press release.

The company pointed out that, due to the mandated early closure of restaurants and bars, “night demand became non-existent”.

However, “regular evening connections are not affected by this measure”, SBB added.

The suspension of night services, which also include postal buses, is for an unlimited period.

“The resumption will depend on the directives of the Federal Council regarding the closure of establishments and nightlife”, SBB said, adding that “connections following the arrival of last scheduled trains are guaranteed”.

READ MORE: Switzerland's new coronavirus measures explained

Train service between Switzerland and France is also reduced

After cutting a third of its high-speed rail links between the two countries at the end of September, TGV Lyria is further reducing its service, the company said in a press release.

Starting on November 4th, only three daily round trips will remain between the two countries: two between Geneva and Paris — down from eight — and one between Zurich and the French capital.

According to SBB and Société nationale des chemins de fer français (SNCF), which jointly operate the TGV network between the two countries, the changes are due to “the health measures taken in the two countries”. 

On one hand, Swiss authorities require that travellers from the French region of Île de France, where Paris is located, quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Switzerland. 

On the other, France is under a four-week lockdown and all non-essential travel is discouraged, even though borders remain open.

All those arriving in the country despite the restrictions must carry a special document, l’attestation de déplacement dérogatoire.

The company also said that all passengers who want to cancel their trip to or from France due to the restrictions in place in both countries, can request a refund or exchange their tickets free of charge until January 4th, 2021. 

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Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

Sweden's Public Health Agency is recommending that those above the age of 80 should receive two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine a year, once in the spring and once in the autumn, as it shifts towards a longer-term strategy for the virus.

Public Health Agency recommends two Covid doses next year for elderly

In a new recommendation, the agency said that those living in elderly care centres, and those above the age of 80 should from March 1st receive two vaccinations a year, with a six month gap between doses. 

“Elderly people develop a somewhat worse immune defence after vaccination and immunity wanes faster than among young and healthy people,” the agency said. “That means that elderly people have a greater need of booster doses than younger ones. The Swedish Public Health Agency considers, based on the current knowledge, that it will be important even going into the future to have booster doses for the elderly and people in risk groups.” 


People between the ages of 65 and 79 years old and young people with risk factors, such as obesity, diabetes, poor kidney function or high blood pressure, are recommended to take one additional dose per year.

The new vaccination recommendation, which will start to apply from March 1st next year, is only for 2023, Johanna Rubin, the investigator in the agency’s vaccination programme unit, explained. 

She said too much was still unclear about how long protection from vaccination lasted to institute a permanent programme.

“This recommendation applies to 2023. There is not really an abundance of data on how long protection lasts after a booster dose, of course, but this is what we can say for now,” she told the TT newswire. 

It was likely, however, that elderly people would end up being given an annual dose to protect them from any new variants, as has long been the case with influenza.