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

Find out what's going on in Switzerland today with The Local's short round-up of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Friday
Prices of PCR tests vary by canton. Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP

PCR costs for traveling abroad vary from canton to canton

Many countries require travellers to show negative PCR results but the price of these tests in Switzerland can be steep.

While PCRs are free for people who have coronavirus symptoms and are ordered by medical authorities to test, those who need it to travel abroad must pay for the screening themselves.  

The highest prices, according to SRF public broadcaster, which compared costs across German-speaking Switzerland, are charged in the Cantonal Hospital in Uri (217 francs), followed by the Nidwalden Cantonal Hospital (215 francs).

On the other hand, at 137 francs per test,  Luzern’s Cantonal Hospital, as well as Stadtspital Waid und Triemli in Zurich, have the lowest prices.

Ski season did not exacerbate Switzerland’s health crisis

There have been concerns that keeping Swiss ski areas open throughout the pandemic — while neighbouring nations closed theirs — would cause an increase in coronavirus cases.

However, this did not happen, according to Switzerland Tourism, which points out that Switzerland “is not worse off than countries where slopes remained shut”. 

This means the protection plans implemented in ski resorts,  including compulsory masks in queues and on chairlifts, have worked well.

Cold snap is finished – for now

Post-Easter snowfalls and sub-zero temperatures swept much of Switzerland between April 6th and 8th, bringing in a phenomenon known as  ‘winter in April’ for the first time since 2017.

Now the high current from the west is bringing warm winds and progressively milder air this weekend. However, this improvement will be brief, as another ‘polar attack’ will strike the country early next week, according to MeteoSwiss.

READ MORE: ‘Winter in April’: Temperatures set to drop as cold front sweeps across Switzerland

Zurich has Europe’s highest number of foreign-born entrepreneurs

Switzerland’s largest city ranks among the most attractive locations in Europe in which to found a start-up, according to the new Startup Heatmap Europe Report 2021.

While Zurich ranks 8th overall out of 50 cities, it is in the first place in terms of the number of foreign-born founders — 76 percent of the canton’s companies were created by entrepreneurs born outside of Switzerland, as compared to the European average of 27 percent, the study reports.

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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For members


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

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday
Tne epidemiological situation is improving thanks in part to vaccinations. Photo by Philippe LOPEZ / AFP

The pandemic in Switzerland is diminishing, experts say

“The epidemiological situation is reassuring”, Virginie Masserey, head of the infection control section at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), said at a press conference.

She added that over the past two weeks, “there has been a stabilisation of new infections and hospitalisations, which does not contradict the decision to allow cautious re-openings” of the economy.

Masserey attributed the improving situation to factors such as vaccination, more time spent outdoors, and more tests, which help control the spread of the virus. “But there is no guarantee that it will continue like this,” she warned.

Hundreds of Canadian nurses could lose their Swiss jobs 

For years, Vaud hospitals have been employing nurses from Quebec, as there is shortage of Swiss-trained nursing staff.

However, from August 1st, 2021 their Canadian diplomas will no longer be recognised in Switzerland, as the training they received is less extensive :  2,500 hours in Canada, against 5,500 in Switzerland.

For this reason, these nurses will lose their status and will be relegated to community health aides instead, unless cantonal authorities modify the rules.

At least one MP sides with the nurses.

“It’s a simple question of consistency: we cannot recruit qualified foreign workers and then expel them from our labour market for no valid reason”, said Vaud councillor Jean- François Chapuisat.

Enough signatures collected for same-sex marriage referendum

The Federal Chancellery said that opponents of the same-marriage law had collected 61,027 valid signatures to bring the issue to a vote — more than the 50,000 required to launch a referendum.

On December 2020, Swiss parliament approved same-sex marriage, but conservative groups like the Swiss People’s Party and the Federal Democratic Union vowed to repeal the legislation, arguing that marriage “must remain the natural union of a man and a woman”.

The date of the referendum has not yet been set

READ MORE: Switzerland to hold same-sex marriage referendum

Village cannon under fire in Solothurn

A weapons collector from Günsberg filed a request with the Village Construction Commission to install a functioning cannon on his property.  His neighbours and local parish are up in arms over this idea.

“A cannon in the middle of the village looks very threatening”, said one resident, who added that she’d have to walk by the weapon on her way to get her mail or do her shopping.

The local parish also shot down this idea, arguing that the presence of a cannon in the village would “convey a negative image”.

The collector responded that if he can’t install the cannon in front of his house, “it will have to stay on a trailer, 15 metres away”.

Or, he can just get a garden gnome.

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]