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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
Mont-Blanc tunnel will be closed to nighttime traffic Audust 10th to 11th.GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

Health Minister: Further easing of restrictions in view 

Current Covid measures, such as the mask requirement, could be lifted or relaxed in a few weeks, Health Minister Alain Berset said in an interview on Sunday.

This would only happen, however, if the epidemiological situation doesn’t worsen, Berset noted.

He also added that there are no plans at the moment to mandate the use of the health pass for activities beyond those that require it now —that is, large events of more than 1,000 people, nightclubs or discos.

READ MORE: How is Switzerland using Covid certificates compared to elsewhere in Europe?

Despite a spike in coronavirus infections — daily numbers have exceeded the 1,000-mark in the past week — the rate of Covid-related hospitalisations and deaths has remained relatively low.

No huge increases in health insurance premiums planned for 2022

Even though Swiss health insurance carriers shelled out 700 million francs for Covid-related costs between the spring 2020 and the end of June this year, insurers are not expecting an explosion in premiums.

This is particularly due to the money reserves, which allow insurance companies a certain margin of maneuver to amortise health costs.

“The pandemic has shown how important it is for health insurers to have sufficient reserves”, according to Matthias Müller of Santésuisse, an umbrella organization of Swiss insurance companies.

Some police officers refuse to enforce Covid measures

Members of several Swiss police forces are threatening to no longer enforce coronavirus rules if these measures are contrary to what the public wants.

The anonymous creators of the renegade group sent a four-page letter to the Swiss Federation of Police Officers (FSFP), criticising Switzerland’s anti-corona regulations and threatening insubordination “if the measures were to oppose the general opinion of the population, restricting their fundamental rights disproportionately”.

Adrian Gaugler of the Conference of Cantonal Police Commanders said that while police officers are free to have their own opinions, “an officer who refuses to apply a law in force will be sanctioned”.

Some police officers sympathise with anti-Covid demonstrators. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Summer’s here, at last

After weeks of rain, summer weather is returning this week, meteorologists predict.

Under the influence of a high pressure system, temperatures should climb up to 28 degrees on Tuesday in the south of the country, with similar temperatures later in the week on the north side of the Alps.

In some regions, temperatures will reach 30 degrees.

Travel: Closure of the Mont-Blanc Tunnel

If you are planning to travel to France or Italy this week, note that the Mont-Blanc tunnel will be closed to car traffic during the night of August 10th to 11th, from 10 pm. to 6 am., in order to allow maintenance work to be carried out.

Motorists can get updates about when the tunnel re-opens to cars by listening to FM 107.7 radio (Autoroute Info), by consulting the website, or on the TMB Mobility mobile application.

READ MORE: Entry, masks and nightclubs: What are the rules in some of Switzerland’s favourite holiday destinations?

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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For members


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