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SWISS NEWS

Today in Switzerland: A roundup 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 roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
More than 20 percent of populaton are fully vaccinated. Photo by MEHDI FEDOUACH / AFP

Coronavirus immunity lasts more than six months, Swiss health official says 

The common belief among medical community right now is that immunity to coronavirus lasts six months after being fully vaccinated or recovering from the disease.

But the resistance to the virus may actually last longer.

“We regularly discuss the data available with the experts and their current point of view is that the protection lasts longer than six months —probably between nine and 12, and maybe even longer”, said Virginie Masserey, head of the infection control section at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

This means that people who received their Covid shots at the beginning of the inoculation campaign in January “have nothing to worry about”, she added.

Each Swiss has nearly half a million francs in assets, central bank says

On average, every person in Switzerland owns assets totalling 460,000 francs, according to statistics from the Swiss National Bank (SNB).

This makes Swiss residents among the wealthiest in the world.

However, as individual assets have doubled in the past 20 years, inequalities in the distribution of wealth have also increased.

For instance, the richest 1 percent of the population saw their wealth grow by 43 percent, while the assets of the bottom 75 percent went up by only 18.6 percent, figures from the calculations of the Federal Tax Administration indicate.

Experts report downward trend for the pandemic

All indicators show a decline in the coronavirus pandemic in Switzerland, according to a report by Switzerland’s Covid-19 scientific working group.

The seven-day average R-rate, which indicates how quickly the virus spreads through a community, stands at 0.85 — well below the treshold of 1.

At the same time, the number of confirmed cases has decreased by 31 percent per week, hospitalisations dropped by 22 percent and deaths by 16 percent..

In all age groups, a statistically significant decrease in the number of infections is also observed.

Health officials also report that as of June 1st, more than 20 percent of Switzerland’s population are fully vaccinated.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: What has Switzerland done right and wrong in managing the Covid pandemic?

Will Zurich remove racist artifacts from public places?

Municipal authorities are faced with a difficult choice between their city’s historical legacy and cultural sensitivity.

The debate revolves around the question: What to do about house names, pictures and statues in the middle of the city that seem racist from today’s perspective?

Officials are choosing the latter option.

For instance, in Zurich’s historic district, inscriptions and plaques containing the word “Mohr” — which literally means ‘Moor’ but is often used in reference to a black person — are being removed from several houses.

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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SWISS NEWS

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday

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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
MPs debate tax breaks for childcare services. Photo by Rashid Sadykov on Unsplash

Geneva vaccination centres will remain open despite USA-Russia summit

Although certain parts of the city will be shut on Wednesday due to the meeting this week between Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin, health authorities have said that Geneva’s vaccination facilities will continue to operate.

Even if some modifications will have to be made, “their impact will be minimal”, according to the cantonal pharmacist Nathalie Vernaz-Hegi.

READ MORE: Historic Swiss lakeside villa spruced up for Biden-Putin talks

Night trains and buses will resume their activity in July

Suspended since November, following the Federal Council’s decision to close restaurants at 11 pm, public transportation has not, or rarely, operated during the night since that time.
 
This is set to change in July, especially as there are now enough train drivers, particularly in the German-speaking Switzerland.
 
Shortages still remain in the French-speaking areas, as well as Ticino, but they should be resolved by fall.

Parents might be able to deduct more taxes for daycare costs

The parliament is debating about increasing the deduction for childcare costs, from 6,500 to 10,000 francs.

MP Christa Markwalder proposed this motion, arguing that it would allow a better reconciliation of professional and family life, as well as better integration of women into the labour market.

Opponents, however, claim  that such a deduction would lead to considerable tax losses, without having any positive effect on equality between men and women.

However, the proposal has every chance of succeeding, supporters say.

READ MORE: How to decide where to live in Switzerland based on affordability

Deportations of foreign criminals should be improved for minor cases, MPs say

The National Council has widely adopted a motion proposing several changes to criminal law relating to the expulsion of foreigners who commit crimes in Switzerland,

The motion proposes three options.

Firstly, the Public Prosecutor’s Office should be empowered to order expulsion in minor cases. Today, only a court can make this decision.

Secondly, foreign defendants without a residence permit or who entered Switzerland solely with the intention of committing a crime, should no longer be entitled to a defense.

Finally, the list of offenses must be re-examined to exclude minor ones; this includes contraventions leading to compulsory expulsion, in particular when they were committed by young foreigners who grew up in Switzerland.

Swiss residents opt to invest their money in pension funds

People in Switzerland have a marked preference for placing their money in pension funds and life insurance over other investment options, according to a study by Boston Consulting Group.

The study showed that the two investment vehicles accounted for 41 percent of the estimated $3.3 trillion of financial wealth in 2020.

Next — 32 percent — are deposits in foreign currencies, followed by equities and investment funds (23 percent).

At the end of 2020, the share of Swiss financial assets was more than 6 percent of  Western Europe’s.

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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