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SWISS NEWS

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
Obligatory tests could keep tourists from coming to Switzerland. Photo by Valery Hache / AFP

Switzerland  could have two different Covid passes

While the much-awaited immunity certificate is gradually being launched, another, “lighter” version, may be released as well.

Unlike the internationally-recognised and EU-compatible Covid passport, the second one would be intended for domestic use only and contain less data.

Holders of this second certificates won’t be able to use it to travel abroad, but it could be used in Switzerland, for instance to attend a concert or another large event, according to a report in the Blick newspaper.

READ MORE: What will Switzerland’s Covid-19 pass allow you to do?

Test requirements will keep people from coming to Switzerland this summer, tourism experts say

Given the high costs of testing and issuing travel certificates, many foreign families will not be able to vacation in Switzerland this year.

Swiss tour operators are asking the government to renounce the more costly PCR tests and accept results of the less expensive antigen test.

And money is not the only reason for the request. “A laboratory analysis is needed for a PCR test, which requires a much longer waiting time than the rapid test. This affects the organisational aspect of the holiday”, according to André Lüthi, head of Globetrotter tour agency.

However, the tests are no longer required for foreign visitors who can prove they’ve been fully vaccinated within the six months of their arrival  in Switzerland.

The only countries not exempted from the test requirement are Brazil, Canada, India, South Africa, Nepal, and the UK. Arrivals from these regions are also required to quarantine when coming to Switzerland.

READ MORE: How does a country ever get off Switzerland’s ‘variant’ list?

Retirement age for women increased

Women will have to work an extra year to collect their social security (AHV / AVS) payments — from the current 64 to 65 — the same age as men.

After a heated debate, MPs voted in favour of this move, which is part of a wider AHV / AVS reform aiming to stabilise the scheme until 2030.

That’s because the population is living longer and the old-age insurance funds are being depleted. If nothing is done, spending will exceed revenues by 2030, authorities say.

Geneva doctors are concerned about a ‘worrisome’ disease

No, this time it’s not Covid-19.

Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) is sounding the alarm about an increase in tropical diseases, including malaria.

People travelling abroad are likely focused on not catching coronavirus and “tend to overlook” tropical diseases, according to HUG.

However, malaria and similar diseases can be fatal, HUG said,  emphasising that a doctor or a specialised medical facility must be consulted before any trip to a country at risk.

And while there is no vaccine against malaria, there are means of prevention, such as mosquito nets, repellant sprays and preventive medication.

As far as yellow fever, is concerned “vaccination is strongly recommended or even compulsory to enter certain countries. Also recommend is vaccination against hepatitis A and measles for all travelers not previously immunised”, HUG noted.

Two Swiss cities in top 10 in new international survey

Zurich is ranked in the 7th place and Geneva in the 8th in the Global Liveability Index 2021 — a survey of 140 cities published by the Economist Magazine.

Despite the pandemic, Switzerland’s two largest cities did well in all five categories assessed by the survey:  stability, healthcare, culture and environment,  as well as education and infrastructure.

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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