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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

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 Friday

Health Ministry: Vaccinated people who died from Covid were elderly

Since the end of January, 460 people in Switzerland — out of about 4.6 million who are fully vaccinated to date —have been infected with coronavirus.

Of these, 96 had to be hospitalised and 19 died. Eighteen patients who passed away were over 80 years old, according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

However, FOPH points out that the number of post-vaccine illnesses is likely underestimated, as asymptomatic cases that did not require medical treatment may not have been reported.

Beware of  mobile phone hackers

Vaud cantonal police has issued a warning cautioning mobile phone owners against fraudulent messages.

According to police, hackers copy a Facebook profile of one of your friends, they contact you pretending to be this friend, and ask for your cell phone number. You then receive an SMS with a code on your mobile. “The friend” asks you for this code. You then notice that your phone bill has increased by a certain amount.

The code in question is actually used to validate a purchase made over the Internet through a third-party company.

If you suspect a fake profile and an attempted scam, verify the information (for example by calling that friend). If this is indeed a fake profile, report it to Facebook through their online form.

Then immediately notify your telephone operator to stop the payment or possibly obtain a refund.

Switzerland scores high in the global Covid-19 ranking

In a new study of how successfully various countries handle the pandemic, Switzerland ranks in the second place, behind Norway.

The survey, conducted by Bloomberg news agency in the United States, found that  — compared to other nations — Switzerland had fewer coronavirus restrictions, which had a positive effect on its economy.

Bloomberg looked at “where the virus is being handled most effectively and with the least social and economic disruption”. In addition to infection and death rates, vaccination rates and the quality of the healthcare system were also examined.

More cross-border workers commute to Switzerland

At the end of June, Switzerland had some 348,000 cross-border workers — 2.2 percent more than in the second quarter of 2020, Federal Statistical Office (FSO) announced.

Most (55 percent) come from France, followed by Italy (23.6 percent), and 18 percent from Germany.

FSO statistics also show a significant increase in the number of cross-border workers over the last two decades.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What cross-border workers should know about taxation in Switzerland

Cows to lock horns on Sunday

Coronavirus restrictions had put a stop to an old Swiss tradition of cow fighting. The last such event took place in 2019, but it will resume on August 8th in Zermatt, at the foot of the iconic Matterhorn.

Around a hundred Hérens cows — a rare breed that is  specific to Valais —  will compete for supremacy within the herd and the canton. The winner will be the new queen.

On Sunday, however, this old custom will have a new twist: only those who show a health pass will be allowed to watch the fight.

READ MORE: Throwing sausages and smoking children: Switzerland’s five weirdest festivals

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

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

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