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

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 Wednesday
There are more calls for teenagers to get vaccinated. Photo by JACK GUEZ / AFP

The return of post-travel quarantine to be debated

Nearly 40 percent of coronavirus patients recently hospitalised in Switzerland became infected while holidaying abroad, according to Urs Karrer, a member of the Covid-19 Task Force.

That’s why Patrick Mathys, head of the crisis management section at the Federal Department of Public Health, called for the Federal Council to  decide on a possible reintroduction of the travel quarantine.

“We have imported a number of infections”, he said.

There are currently no quarantine requirements when entering Switzerland from abroad.

Swiss health expert: Teenagers should be vaccinated against Covid

According to Antoine Flahault, director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Geneva, “it is increasingly clear that the countries best equipped to face the Covid-19 pandemic are those which have achieved very high vaccination coverage”.

Therefore, “we must vaccinate everyone over 12 years of age”, he said. 

To date, only 7.86 percent of teens between 12 and 15  have been vaccinated, even though both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are now approved for this age group.

Many in Switzerland worry about their retirement income

The pandemic, which has lasted for more than a year and a half so far,  is undermining the morale of Switzerland’s residents with regard to pensions.

A new survey by insurer Groupe Mutuel and Le Temps newspaper found that 37 percent of respondents are concerned about a drastic drop in their standard of living in retirement. This worry is especially prevalent among women , the self-employed, and low-income households.

Among the self-employed, 65 percent believe that they will not be financially stable in the retirement — 5 percent more than in 2020 — even though the Swiss pension system, with its three pillars, has withstood the health crisis so far.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How does the Swiss pension system work – and how much will I receive?

SWISS makes vaccination compulsory for its cabin crews

The airline announced that it will introduce this rule from November 15th, “because of the regulations in force in various countries around the world, which increasingly require a compulsory vaccine for crews”.

Hong Kong is the first destination in the SWISS network to require proof of vaccination for crews from certain countries, including for flights from Switzerland.

 “It is important that we take measures now that allow us to preserve our global network while fulfilling our duty to protect our employees”, said the company’s CEO Dieter Vranckx.

READ MORE: Switzerland: Can your employer ask if you are vaccinated?

Masked teenagers purchase more alcohol

This should go under the heading of “well, what did you expect?”

A survey conducted  across the country on behalf of Switzerland’s Federal Customs Administration showed that nearly one-third of attempts by young people to purchase alcohol during the pandemic have been successful.

The reason is pinned on the obligation to wear a mask in stores, which has made age assessment more difficult.

In three out of 10 instances, beer and wine were sold illegally to children under 16, and spirits to those under 18. The staff carried out an age check in just under 75 percent of cases.

Girls in masks managed to get alcohol more often than their male peers, the survey found.

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 Tuesday

Swiss workers need wage rises and rent prices rise in Zurich in the latest roundup of news from Switzerland on Tuesday.

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

Swiss workers should get wage increase of ‘up to 5 percent in 2023’

Trade Union Travail Suisse has demanded a general wage rise of between 3 and 5 percent for all workers in the country in 2023.

The rise would allow workers to cope with the rising cost of living in the country as well as to compensate workers for an increase in productivity.

Thomas Bauer an economist from Travail Suisse argues that Switzerland’s economy is in good health at the moment but workers have seen little benefit in terms of wage rises. They have only see prices rise and stress levels increase.

“That has to change urgently,” he said.

That argument was echoed by Johann Tscherrig from the Syna trade union who said: “All workers must get their fair share of the fruits of growth” as they work “to the maximum of their abilities”.

READ ALSO: FACT CHECK: How accurate are the ‘five reasons not to move to Switzerland’?

Rent prices stable in July but increase in Zurich

Rent prices in Switzerland did not see an increase last month for the first time in a year, according to the property site Homegate.

But although July saw prices stagnate or even sightly decrease, the bigger picture shows that rents continue to rise, especially in Switzerland’s cities.

Over the last year they have increased 2 percent in Switzerland as a whole and as much as 6.4 percent in Zurich.

The canton of Graubünden saw a 4.3 percent rise compared to last year whilst rents in the cantons of Nidwalden (+7.3%) and Schwyz (+4.7%) also rose steeply.

Homegate put the general rise down to the fact that “both the number of vacant homes and the number of building permit applications are down, while demand remains high due to immigration.”

READ ALSO: REVEALED: Where in Europe have house prices and rent costs increased the most?

Wolf population in Alps growing exponentially

The number of wolves in the Alps continues to grow but there are concerns that available habitat will soon become too restricted as the population of the wild animal grows exponentially.

The organisation Groupe Loup Suisse (Swiss Wolf group) said the wolf population across the Alps was growing by 25 percent to 30 percent each year.

With around 300 wolf packs living in the Alps this summer the population has occupied around half the habitable area – given that each wolf pack needs around 250 square kilometres of territory on average.

Groupe Loup Suisse estimates therefore that the Alps has around enough space for a viable population of 800 packs.

The organisation believes it’s vital to implement measures to better protect livestock from wolf attacks.

READ ALSO: Swiss organisation again calls for volunteers to scare wolves away

Chimney sweepers in high demand

The high oil and gas prices are scaring Swiss homeowners and many are not getting ready to heat their homes with wood, broadcaster SRF reported.

With that, chimney sweep services are more sought after than ever, with businesses booked weeks ahead, especially in rural areas, where wood stoves and fireplaces are more common. But inquiries from homeowners in larger cities are also increasing, the head of the Association of chimney sweeps Switzerland Paul Grässli says.

He reminds people to have their fireplaces and stoves checked regularly by professionals to avoid accidents. “If the fireplace has not been used for years, it could be dangerous, he says.

READ ALSO: How can you save on your household energy bills in Switzerland?