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

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 Thursday
More travellers can now come to Switzerland without the quarantine. Photo by Zurich Airport

Six regions of neighbouring countries removed from Switzerland’s high-risk list

Starting today, France’s Région Occitanie and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Germany’s Land Sachsen and Thüringen, as well as Italy’s Regione Campania and Puglia are off the list.

Also Croatia, Cyprus, Iran, Luxembourg, and Turkey are no longer considered as high risk areas by Switzerland’s Health Ministry.

This means that arrivals from these places are no longer required to quarantine in Switzerland, although they still need to  provide a negative Covid test, unless they are fully vaccinated or have recently recovered from the disease.

READ MORE: Switzerland to lift Covid testing and quarantine requirements for some travellers

Swiss pharmaceutical industry alarmed over the end of negotiations with the EU

The association of Swiss pharmaceutical companies, which includes such giants as Roche and Novartis, is calling on the Federal Council to resume negotiations with Brussels.

The breakdown in talks is a blow to the Swiss pharmaceutical branch and related research, the industry association Interpharma wrote in an open letter to the federal government, published Wednesday by the Neue Zürcher Zeitung.

The competitiveness and strength of the Swiss pharmaceutical and research sector “are decisively linked” to the EU, its main trading partner, where the industry exports 46 percent of its products, the letter states.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why did Switzerland call off EU talks and what are the consequences?

Can an algorithm predict the end of coronavirus pandemic?

A Swiss online simulator creates algorithmic projections on the rest of the pandemic, based on to the degree of vaccination.

It shows that at the current rate, Switzerland could achieve collective immunity — when 80 percent of the population is fully immunised — on October 8th .

However, the calculation doesn’t take into account the variable availability of vaccines, the appearance of new variants of the virus against which the current vaccines would not necessarily be effective, or the number of people who are immune after recovering from the disease.

You can now tap beer yourself at Coop

The retailer introduced the first self-use bottling stations for mineral water and beer in order to reduce packaging material.

Customers can now fill Rhäzünser mineral water and Valaisanne beer into specially provided containers in selected Coop supermarkets in northwestern Switzerland.

From August, the supermarket chain will expand the filling stations to include some foods, as well as laundry and dishwashing detergents.

Employment in Switzerland is on the rise

The number of job vacancies in Switzerland increased by 7.9 percent  between April and May 2021, and by 178 percent since January, according to the Swiss Job Index by recruitment agency Michael Page.

This is the strongest monthly growth rate this year, even higher than in the same pre-Covid period. The greatest demand is for specialists in the logistics, IT, engineering, infrastructure management, as well as pharmaceutical sectors.

All regions recorded positive growth, starting with central Switzerland (+ 12.7 percent), followed by Bern, Neuchâtel and Fribourg (8 percent) —almost at the same level as Geneva, Vaud, and Valais (7.9).

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 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]