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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
What fashionable people wear right now. Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Health experts: Infection numbers no indication of epidemiological situation

Since the beginning of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) has been publishing the number of daily infections detected in Switzerland.

These figures are used to determine — among other criteria —the severity of the pandemic in the country at a given time.

But now  “it is no longer appropriate to stick to incidence as a central factor in assessing the situation”, said Manfred Kopf, professor of Molecular Biomedicine at a research university  ETH in Zurich.

Instead, he suggests that “it is more important to look at hospitalisations than at new infections”.

Huldrych Günthard from the Institute for Medical Virology at the University of Zurich believes that a move away from the number of cases to hospitalisations is already underway.

“Sooner or later, there will be more infections, but less dramatic consequences, and that is ultimately what we are aiming for with the vaccinations”, he noted.

READ MORE: Delta variant responsible for nearly 80 percent of new cases in Switzerland

Hottest selling items in Switzerland right now: rainwear

Given the continued wet weather, various retailers are reporting an increased demand for umbrellas and rubber boots.

Both Coop and Migros have noticed more umbrellas flying off the shelves, and at SportXX, most of the demand is for waterproof hiking boots and rain jackets.

The Digitec / Galaxus also reports a marked increase in sales of water pumps, as flooding is impacting much of Switzerland.  “We are registering an increase of around 20 percent compared to last year,” said a spokesperson for the online merchant.

He added that a a new weather-related fashion trend is emerging: “Everyone wants to have a transparent umbrella”.

READ MORE: ‘The situation is critical’: Switzerland’s wild weather to continue

New opportunity at Swiss Federal Railways (SBB)

On Sunday September 12th, the SBB will hold rescue exercises in the Simplon Tunnel in canton Valais. The nearly 20-km-long tunnel connects Switzerland with Italy.

For that purpose, the company is looking for 120 volunteers to participate in this simulated event that will take place in the tunnel itself, as well as in the structure’s two portals located on both sides of the border.

Interested persons can sign up here.

Volunteers are needed for simulated rescues in Simplon tunnel.Photo by SBB

Swiss mortgage rates should stabilise or even decline

Good news for homeowners: after months of climbing, specialists expect a stabilisation, or even a decrease, in mortgage rates in the near future.

In mid-July, rates for 10-year mortgages reached an average of 1.15 percent, after peaking at 1.23 percent in May.

By the end of  2021, 10-year rates are expected to be at 0.7 percent and 1 percent for five-year mortgages.

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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