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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
The group behind the initiative says cash is king. Photo by Claudio Schwartz, Unsplash
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

The number of Covid infections skyrockets

With the number of new daily contaminations now exceeding 3,000 — nearly a double of numbers recorded last week — coronavirus cases are now reaching levels similar to those of the second wave in the fall 2020.

The increase is particularly strong among young people, including children.

The number of Covid patients in hospitals, which until now has been relatively low, is also rising.

As an example, at the beginning of July, there were two to three coronavirus-related hospital admissions per day. Currently, the number has increased tenfold, according to Patrick Mathys, head of the crisis management section at the Federal Office of Public Health.

In contrast, the number of deaths —one to two per day— remains low.

READ MORE: MAPS: Where are Switzerland’s new coronavirus hotspots?

Aldi Switzerland recalls a product

The supermarket chain is recalling the Primana “Snack box party” product in the 450-gramme pack, manufactured by Frostkrone and available in different varieties.

Contaminants have been found in some of these boxes, though Aldi hasn’t specified which ones.

As a preventive measure, the product was immediately withdrawn from sale. Those who have purchased it must not consume it and can bring it back to any branch, where the purchase price will be refunded, even in the absence of a cash receipt.

READ MORE: Reader question: Under what conditions can I return a purchase to a store in Switzerland?

The name game: and the winners are…

Each year for more than three decades, the Federal Statistical Office has been publishing the first names of infants born in Switzerland.

The most popular names in 2020 for girls were Mia, followed by Emma and Mila.

For boys, Noah took the top spot, ahead of Liam and Matteo.

Housing prices keep going up

The Federal Statistical Office has also published data indicating that the Swiss residential property price index (IMPI) rose by 2.2 percent in the second quarter of 2021 (April to June).

During this period, prices of single-family houses went up by 2.6 percent and those of apartments by 1.8 percent. Both market segments showed higher prices in all residential areas across Switzerland.

READ MORE: Why do so many Swiss prefer to rent rather than buy their own home?

Launch of a referendum to keep cash payments in Switzerland

A citizens’ committee has launched an initiative – a form of popular referendum – named “Yes to a free and independent Swiss currency in the form of coins or banknotes”.

The referendum was launched by the Swiss Freedom Movement, which is best known for its conspiracy theory and Covid vaccine sceptic activism. 

The referendum has been launched as a consequence of the Covid pandemic, which has seen a significant shift towards card and device payment rather than the colourful notes of the Swiss franc. 

READ MORE: Could coronavirus end the Swiss love affair with cash?

It demands that cash be always available in sufficient quantity and not be replaced by credit and debit cards.

“Cash is a symbol of freedom, independence and security,” said Richard Kohler, president of the Swiss Freedom Movement (MLS), the group behind the initiative.

For him, “it is a simple and accessible alternative to electronic payments for the elderly or those refusing any other means of payment by philosophical conviction”.

The initiative will be put to a vote if it receives enough signatures, with the organisers getting a year and a half to collect the 100,000 signatures necessary to put it to a vote. 

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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