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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
In ther dark of the night...Cassandre Berdoz is announcing the hours. Photo by Ville de Lausanne
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Switzerland added to UK’s Covid travel green list

From August 30th at 4 am, travellers from Switzerland will no longer be required to quarantine when arriving in the United Kingdom, regardless of their vaccination status — though they have to take a pre-departure test and another one two days after arrival.

“We’ve updated our travel lists further cautiously easing international travel”, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said of the less restrictive measures.

READ MORE: Switzerland added to UK’s Covid travel green list

New study: Covid ‘self-tests’ are not reliable

Researchers at University of Bern have found that coronavirus test kits, which allow people to test at home, are not sufficiently accurate.

They reported that 12,400 infected people in Switzerland were not detected by the home kits; out of 141cases of contamination, the self-test detected only two out of three.

The tests are least accurate in asymptomatic cases.

“These people may be lulled into a false sense of security. There is a potential risk that the use of this type of tests will fuel the pandemic rather than slow it down”, researchers noted.

Self-tests are not accurate, researchers say. Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP 

Swiss to vote on later retirement age

The Federal Chancellery has confirmed the successful completion of the pension initiative introduced by the Young Liberal Radicals (JLR), who collected 107,000 valid signatures – 7,000 more than required for voting.

The initiative seeks to raise the retirement age to 66 for both sexes, from the current 64 for women and 65 for men.

The goal, according to Matthias Müller, JLR’s president, is to boost the coffers of the country’s old-age insurance scheme, “so that all generations, and above all the young and future generations, can receive a decent pension”.

The date for the nationwide vote has not yet been set.

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

Health Minister under heavy guard

Tonight, Alain Berset will take part in a TV programme “Arena” on Swiss-German television, where he will participate in a heated debate about Switzerland’s handling of the Covid pandemic.

“As the subject is very controversial, attacks against the health minister are to be feared”, Blick reports.

In order to ensure his safety, the Zurich police will send agents of the “Scorpion” force to protect Berset. It is a special unit of elite officers, normally deployed in shootings or hostage-taking situations. 

Switzerland’s budget to return to normal in 2022

After two years marked by heavier-than-usual spending due to  Covid-19, the federal budget will again be balanced.

In addition to the ordinary budget, the Federal Council provides for extraordinary expenditure of 925 million francs in the fight against the pandemic, which also includes the cost of the vaccines.

In total, revenue forecast for 2021 amounts to 78.6 billion francs, an increase of 3.3 percent.

This is due in particular to direct federal taxes, companies in the financial and pharmaceutical sectors having been largely spared by the coronavirus crisis.

Hear ye, hear ye, Lausanne’s cathedral has a new crier

Since June, Vaud’s capital has been searching for a new town crier, someone to announce the hours every night between 10pm and 2am from the bell tower of the city’s imposing Gothic cathedral.

The position has just been filled by Cassandre Berdoz, the first woman to have this job since it was created in 1405, municipal authorities announced.

Aside from watching over the city and announcing each hour in a melodious voice, her nightly duties include climb 53 stone steps to the cathedral’s bell tower and absolutely no falling asleep on the job.

READ MORE: Hear ye, here ye! This Swiss city is looking for a town crier

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] to vote on later retirement age

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