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Switzerland dodges millennium computer bug

Switzerland dodged the much-dreaded Y2K computer bug: All major transport, telecommunications, power grid and financial command centres reported no problems as computer clocks rolled over from 1999 to 2000.

This content was published on January 1, 2000 - 10:46

Switzerland dodged the much-dreaded Y2K computer bug: All major transport, telecommunications, power grid and financial command centres reported no problems as computer clocks rolled over from 1999 to 2000.

“The year 2000 started well for Switzerland. All the basic infrastructure services such as utilities, communications and railways are working smoothly,” said an official statement published on the special www.millenium.ch website of the federal authorities.

“All the preparations are paying off,” they added, referring to the thousands of staff and experts who were on standby overnight in case of any emergency alerts.

Hydroelectric and nuclear power plants reported no problems as computers marked up January 1st at midnight. A spokesman for the national emergency centre said there were also no systems control problem as faced by Japan, where officials reported minor glitches with radiation monitoring systems.

Punctual as ever, Swiss trains carried their passengers safely and without incident in 80 extra trains into the new millennium. More than 300 people had been called up for special shifts in addition to the 2,000 regular railways staff to make sure all transport went smoothly.

Switzerland’s three main airports -- Zurich, Geneva and Basel – ran several hours of computer security checks but noted no hickups. At Zurich’s Kloten airport, the first aircraft took off at 06:00 a.m. for Berlin.

There were some problems in the telecommunications sector but, as expected, they had nothing to do with the Y2K computer bug: There were simply too many people communicating their millennium wishes at the same time.
The happy-new-year-rush meant that some people found it difficult to get out their message during the first hour of the new year, particularly on mobile phones. However, Switzerland’s major telecommunications company, Swisscom, said there were no Y2K problems.

The Swiss were also able to take comfort in the fact that their money was still safe in their banks. A special command centre set up for the millennium occasion reported that all systems were working normally and that no money was chewed up by the 2000 roll-over.

Switzerland’s largest bank, UBS, said it was confident it would operate as normal when international financial markets reopen.

However, experts do not want to give the “all clear” quite yet as some secondary systems or lower priority computer networks will only become operational within the next 48 hours.

From staff and wire reports.

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