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

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 Monday
More meds are available without prescription. FRED TANNEAU / AFP

Swiss national team receives heroes’ welcome

They may have lost to Spain on Friday but they did knock out world champions France earlier in the week.

That’s why when the “Nati” — as the team is called here — returned home this weekend, they were given a heroes’ welcome on the tarmac of Zurich’s airport, where their arrival was greeted by alphorns.

READ MORE:  ‘We don’t like France, Germany or Italy’: How linguistic diversity unites Swiss football fans

“Euro fever” will cause increase in Covid cases, health expert predicts

“Euro football is an ideal ground for the virus”, Urs Karrer, vice-president of the Covid-19 Task Force said in an interview with SonntagsBlick.

The “uncontrolled euphoria” is already causing spikes in infections in certain parts of Europe, he pointed out.

“How Switzerland will spend the winter depends on current behaviour”, Karrer said, adding that “the epidemiological situation on the continent is currently not good enough for mass events to be allowed without control”.

Herd immunity will likely not be achieved in Switzerland

As the increasing number of Switzerland’s residents are leaving for holidays, the rate of vaccinations has fallen.

A survey of the cantons by the SonntagsZeitung shows that there are hardly any new registrations or appointments for vaccinations this summer.

This means that no region is likely to achieve a vaccination rate above 60 percent by the fall, which is below the Federal Council’s target of 75 percent.

According to the infectious disease specialist Andreas Cerny, one of the reasons for this slowdown is that good epidemiological situation discourages some people from getting the shot.

“People do a cost-benefit analysis. For many, the risk of infection is very low right now. This is why they come to the conclusion that vaccination is not worth it at the moment.”

However, this means that Switzerland could see the resurgence of cases in the fall.

READ MORE: ‘Covid-19 will never go away’: How Switzerland must learn to ‘live with the virus’

Some medications are becoming more accessible

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has released a list of drugs that used to be available only by prescription but now can be purchased directly at the pharmacy without a doctor’s order.

Included are medications to treat severe respiratory conditions, migraines and other acute pain, and a number of other ailments.

The complete list of medications is here.

Foreigners pay higher auto insurance in Switzerland

When it comes to car insurance, companies are allowed to discriminate based on the nationality of their client, even before taking into account other criteria, such as the number of prior accidents.

For instance, people from the Balkans and Turkey pay a much higher premium than drivers from Western Europe, but all pay more than the Swiss.

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

Heating with wood to become more expensive, redacted vaccine contracts, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Thursday.

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

Heating with wood is starkly more expensive

It’s not only the prices for fossil fuels, oil and gas that have risen sharply in Switzerland. Even those who rely on alternative energies such as wood as a fuel currently have to dig deeper into their wallets, SRF reported.

The pellets made from pressed sawdust are 46 percent more expensive than a year ago. “In general, we can summarise that the increase is due to higher production costs,” said Peter Lehmann, President of the “proPellets” Association. In addition to processing, wood is also more expensive.

Last year, almost 50 percent more pellet-based heating systems were built than in 2020, which has increased the demand for pellets. However, Lehmann assumes that the price will not decrease in the medium term; wood as a raw material is too much in demand in the current situation.

READ ALSO: Five of the biggest challenges facing Switzerland right now

Swiss government publishes redacted vaccine contracts

After a long period of resistance, the Swiss government disclosed the vaccine purchase contracts. Before that, however, it had redacted them out extensively, Watson reported.

The authorities have kept it a secret even the duration of secrecy, so the Swiss won’t know how long it will take until they can see the complete contracts. The lack of transparency has brought on criticism against the government.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why vaccinations are not mandatory in Switzerland

Almost 10 percent of Ukrainian refugees have found jobs in Switzerland

A total of 9.4 percent of adults possessing a special “S” permit are working, with most employed in the restaurant sector, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) said.

Nearly a quarter of them (23 percent) are active in the restaurant industry. In addition, 17 percent work in the “planning, consulting, IT” sector. Agriculture and education each account for 8 percent of those with the S status.

There are currently 61 424 status S applications in Switzerland, of which 59 411 persons have been granted S status, SEM said.

READ ALSO: 200,000 in 2022: Immigration fuelling Swiss population surge

Federal Council wants to decide on sanction policy in August

Switzerland’s Federal Council wants to discuss whether or not to adopt the so-called “thematic” sanctions of the European Union, Tagesanzeiger said.

These sanctions work differently than those imposed on a specific country. Instead, they allow measures to be taken against individuals, companies and organisations from different countries that violate certain rights. They are primarily concerned about violations regarding chemical weapons, cyber and human rights.

Specifically, in March 2021, the EU decided to sanction some persons, organisations and institutions from North Korea, Libya, Eritrea, South Sudan, Russia and China for serious human rights violations.

The controversial decision could lead to Switzerland sanctioning China, with Minister of Economic Affairs Guy Parmelin against adopting the measures.

READ ALSO: Switzerland bans imports of Russian gold