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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Biden wished Parmelin Happy National Day. Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko / POOL / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Contaminated tests cause slowdown in Covid screening

Twelve cantons are not able to carry out widespread coronavirus screening since the saline solution contained in the tubes for saliva tests is contaminated with germs.

Regulatory drug agency Swissmedic has not yet approved replacement products.

Hundreds of thousands of kits, distributed by pharmaceutical supplier  Disposan, were withdrawn from some testing  centres in Zurich, Bern, Aargau, Lucerne, Graubünden, Schwyz, Glarus, Jura, Fribourg, Zug, Schaffhausen and Thurgau.

Swiss website pays ransom to hackers

Popular consumer site Comparis.ch was hacked on July 7th, and hackers demanded payment to restore the website.

While Comparis initially said it would not give in to the ransom demands, it now paid an estimated 363,000 francs in cryptocurrency, according to reports in Schweiz am Wochenende.

“Some essential files were encrypted by hackers and we could only recover them with great effort”, Comparis.ch spokesperson Andrea Auer said.

However, damage caused by the hackers is reportedly greater than expected and customers have received emails urging them to change their passwords.

Geneva statistics show huge disparities in wealth of residents

Geneva’s Cantonal Statistical Office (OCSTAT)  has released figures showing the wealth of married couples living in various communities throughout the canton.

The numbers are from 2018, the latest available.

As the chart below shows, the wealthiest couples, with the net worth of 1.3 million francs, live in the Geneva countryside commune of  Vandœuvres, while those with least wealth  (about 50,000) live in urban Vernier.

The median wealth per couple is about 180,000 francs, and residents of most communes exceed that figure.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How applying for social benefits could see your Swiss work permit cancelled

Holiday traffic: 12 km-long bottlenecks at Gotthard tunnel

As more Swiss tourists (as well as those transiting through Switzerland) are heading south to Italy, traffic jams are forming at the north portal of the Gotthard tunnel, between Erstfeld and Göschenen (UR). This corresponds to wait time of two hours.

While the condition is worst during the weekends, jams also happen during the week, slowing down south-bound traffic considerably.

To avoid being stuck in long lines at the tunnel, Touring Club Suisse (TCS) recommends checking  current traffic conditions here.

America sends wishes to Switzerland

US President Joe Biden sent his best wishes to his Swiss counterpart Guy Parmelin on the occasion of National Day on August 1st.

“Switzerland is a good friend and a partner of the United States”, Biden said. “Our nations are united by our common democratic values, our respect for the rule of law and our commitment to protect fundamental rights, but also by our close trade and economic ties”.

Biden again thanked Switzerland for hosting the summit meeting between him and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Geneva in June.

“Switzerland makes an invaluable contribution to diplomacy and to world peace,” he added.

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

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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