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

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday
The silhouette of the parliment building in Bern. The site can now be 'toured' via a new app. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

How Switzerland’s demographics changed in 2020 

Migratory flows contributed to the country’s demographic change last year, according to a new study by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO). 

In 2020, 163,000 immigrations were recorded, both of Swiss living abroad (25,600) and foreigners (137,400).

At the same time, 106,500 people left the country —25,800 Swiss citizens and 80,700 foreigners. While net migration remains positive (+56,500), the number of immigrants and emigrants decreased in comparison to 2019, by –3.9 and –15.6 percent, respectively.

During 2020, Swiss nationals immigrated to the country in greater numbers (+ 6.7 percent) and left less (–17.7 percent). Among people of foreign nationality, immigration and emigration fell (–5.6 percent and –14.9 percent, respectively).

 Where rents are going up and where they are decreasing

At the end of March, rents in Zurich jumped 0.9 percent and in Swiss-French regions they increased by 0.2 percent compared to February, according to the Swiss Real Estate Offer index.  

The increases were also noted in northwestern Switzerland (+ 0.3 percent), eastern part of the country (+ 0.2 percent) and Ticino (+1.9 percent). But elsewhere in the country, particularly in central regions, they dropped by 1.2 percent.   

READ MORE: This is how much it costs you to change apartments in Switzerland’s cities

An app showcases Swiss parliament

A new application, offering an audio tour of Switzerland’s parliament building and its surroundings, is now available for free in German, French, Italian, and English.  

The app features 12 sites, including the domed hall, lobby, north entrance, chambers of the National Council and Council of States, as well as other areas in and around the epicentre of Switzerland’s political life.

The app can be downloaded for iPhones and Android.

Masks are compulsory outdoors in neighbouring French towns

Due to increased Covid infections, masks must be worn outdoors in French municipalities of more than 10,000 inhabitants. This includes some towns lying just outside Geneva and Vaud.

Divonne-les-Bains, Ferney-Voltaire and Gex, where many cross-border workers live and where people from Switzerland often go shopping, are among the communes included in the new mask requirement.

Amnesty International says early Swiss Covid-19 restrictions were too harsh

Switzerland’s measures restricting the freedom of assembly, along with the closure of its borders with Italy at the beginning of the pandemic, were exaggerated and “disproportionately limited the right to freedom of expression”, the NGO said in its annual report.

The organisation also took issue with the fact that during the closure of the border with Italy from mid-March 2020, asylum applications were suspended as part of Covid-19 emergency measures.

As a result, refugees from the Greek island of Lesbos could not be resettled, the report notes.

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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