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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
A number of schoolchildren in Switzerland are under quarantine. Photo by WOJTEK RADWANSKI / AFP

Switzerland to extend Covid certificate today

The long-awaited announcement about the extension of the certificate is expected this afternoon.

After postponing the decision on September 1st, the Federal Council is set to make the announcement regarding the requirement, from next Monday, to present the certificate to access indoor bars, restaurants, fitness centres and sports as well as cultural venues and activities.

This would put Switzerland in line with measures practiced most of its neighbour countries.

READ MORE: Switzerland to extend Covid certificate to bars, restaurants and gyms ‘from Monday’

Covid shuts down some classrooms

Since the start of the school year, hundreds of students have already been placed in quarantine in Switzerland.

For instance, more than 1,000 schoolchildren in Zurich , the same number in Neuchâtel, and 600 in Aargau were told to stay at home after some students, including in kindergarten, tested positive to coronavirus.

“We are seeing a pronounced wave of infections among children and young people”, said Covid-19 Task Force head Tanja Stadler.

Although the virus is not particularly dangerous for most children, “we must not downplay the situation”, she noted, adding that cases of long Covid and psychological problems related to the disease have been found among young people.

The pandemic stirs up racial discrimination in Switzerland

For nearly two years, discrimination has been on the increase in Switzerland, according to the latest report from the Service for Combatting Racism.

It found that the Covid pandemic may have exacerbated this phenomenon.

Conspiracy theories, especially of anti-Semitic nature, have proliferated since March 2020, especially through the internet and social media, the Service noted.

The current crisis has also brought to light social divisions and inequalities in Switzerland, revealed by the “Black Lives Matter” movement, the report pointed out.

Passengers compensated for public transportation delays

A total 74,000 francs was paid to public transport users who suffered excessive delays in the first half of 2020, according to the SwissPass Alliance. However, his figure is lower than expected due to the drop in the number of passengers and trips during the confinement.

Public transport delays are compensated in Switzerland since January 1st, when a new law on passenger rights went into effect.

READ MORE: Switzerland to offer compensation for delayed trains from 2021

Migros customers targeted by bitcoin scammers

The supermarket chain issued a warning against fake flyers with Migros’ logo that are circulated in some parts of Switzerland.

According to the flyer, Migros decided to offer 100 bitcoins, with a current value of 4.7 million francs, to its loyal customers.

It is asking people to deposit between 0.01 and 5 bitcoins (between 474 and 237,000 francs) into an account and receive double in return.

Police spokesperson said this type of bitcoin scam is well known, but this is the first time it involves Switzerland’s largest retailer.

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 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?