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Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Monday

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Monday
More avalanches occurred in the Swiss Alps this winter. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Find out what's going on in Switzerland today with The Local's short round-up of the news.

Foreign candidate elected in canton Vaud

One of the candidates from the Social Democratic party, Awa Diédhiou, who came to Switzerland in 2005 from Senegal, was elected on Sunday to the communal council in Renens, Vaud.

“In a city like Renens, where fifty percent of population is foreign, it is important to make our voice heard and to participate in decision-making”, she said.

The cantons of Fribourg, Vaud, Neuchâtel and Jura allow non-citizens to vote, elect officials, and stand for election at communal level. 

The Green party is spearheading the campaign to allow foreign nationals to vote on federal level as well.

READ MORE: Will foreigners in Switzerland finally earn the right to vote in federal elections?

Fewer cases of flu thanks to Covid preventive measures

The 2020 / 2021 flu season has been far less severe than last year’s, according to Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

The number of reported cases dropped from about 350 per 100,000 inhabitants at the peak of flu season last year to just over 100 / 100,000 in 2021.

Health authorities attribute this decline in numbers to protective and hygiene measures put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.

“The hand washing, the distance rules and the wearing of masks have helped against the flu virus,” said infectiologist Philippe Eggimann, adding that “the corona measures prevented many flu deaths”.

Ski resort sculpts benches in the snow to create seats for eating

As the government ordered all restaurant terraces on ski slopes to close, the resort of Arosa in canton Graubünden carved snow benches directly on the pistes.  

Located in front of the “Brüggerstuba” restaurant, the snow benches serve as an outdoor space for eating.  “In Arosa, we are always looking for solutions, even when the decisions of the authorities are incomprehensible”, said. Pascal Jenny, head of Arosa’s Tourism Office. 

Several cantons had tried to keep their outdoor dining facilities open for skiers, but the Federal Council ordered them shut as of March 1st.  

Photo by Pascal Jenny  / Facebook

Deadly winter for avalanches

In the winter of 2020/21 there were an above-average number of avalanche accidents in Swiss mountains.

The Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research (SLF) has already counted 151 avalanche accidents by the end of February —the highest number on record and twice as many as the average over the past 20 years. 

Over 200 people were caught in avalanches and 20 died.

The high number of avalanches was caused  by the “unfavorable snow cover build-up between December and February”, said Frank Techel from the SLF. The fresh snow fell on a partially weak snow cover, creating a situation when a person’s weight is enough to collapse the foundation.

Experts say that the pandemic is also to blame. “With many concerned about the potential for contracting the virus – and with ski resorts experiencing record popularity – the idea of going off piste has become more attractive”, they note.

If you have any questions about life in Switzerland, ideas for articles or news tips for The Local please get in touch with us at [email protected]


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