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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
Slower mail delivery could be on the horizin. Photo by Fabrice Cpffrini / AFP

New Covid wave will be different from previous ones, Health Minister says

Alain Berset said in an interview on Sunday that the forthcoming pandemic wave will not be the same as the prior outbreaks that hit Switzerland.

That’s because while previously older people were the ones most impacted — in the number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths — this time around “the rate of vaccination of people at risk and older generations is over 80 percent”, Berset noted.

Therefore, they will not be affected in the same way as before.

However, the number of contaminations among those under 50 who have not been immunised ”will continue to increase in the near future”, he said.

As for the much-debated booster dose, Berset pointed out that the Federal Council is carefully examining this question with specialists. “”What is certain is that this decision will not be made by the pharmaceutical companies”, he said.

READ MORE: Reader question: How can I get a Covid booster shot in Switzerland?

Berset: Businesses should be more pro-active in supporting Covid certificates

In another interview, Berset called on business circles to get more involved in promoting vaccines.

“Businesses, sports and fitness centres, and cultural organisations, which have suffered so much from the pandemic, should have an interest in vaccinating as many people as possible”, he said.

Instead, many branches are fighting against the health pass.

Berset urged business to “invest this energy to advance immunisation”, for instance, by setting up vaccination units in their facilities.

Companies should vaccinate employees on site, Berset says. Photo by Cole Burston / GETTY IMAGES / AFP

READ MORE: UPDATED: Can you be fired in Switzerland if you refuse the Covid-19 vaccine?

Visits to Geneva hospital with Covid certificate only

From August 23rd, only people who have a Covid Certificate — that is, those vaccinated, recovered, or tested negative — will be allowed to enter the building of the Geneva University Hospitals (HUG).

The screening will be done at the entrance of the establishment.

The measure will apply to all visitors over age 16, those to be hospitalised, as well as outpatients. Only emergencies and other exceptional situations will be exempted from this requirement.

Photo: HUG

Next-day mail delivery could be phased out

For years, the delivery of  “A” priority mail was guaranteed the following day anywhere in Switzerland.

However, it now looks like this service may be  discontinued.

That’s because mail is no longer collected on Sundays in many locations; to cut costs, only 300 mailboxes are emptied on Sundays out of a total of 14,000  boxes across the country.

Additionally, one in two mailboxes is emptied only after 9 am, meaning that much of the mail will not arrive at their destination the next day.

The slower delivery “is a hassle for private households, and for business it is downright damaging”, MP Mauro Tuena said.

Roberto Cirillo, the director of the Post Office, was summoned to appear before the Telecommunications Commission of the National Council at the end of August to explain the situation and find solutions.

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