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

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 Friday
Spend a day at a Swiss farm on Sunday. Photo by Ayla Fazioli from Pexels

Switzerland to announce decision on extension of Covid certificate to travel

After introducing, on September 13th, the certificate requirement for nearly all indoor venues, the Federal Council will announce today whether new rules will be extended to travellers as well. 

Two options were discussed — one focusing on testing and the other on quarantining all travellers from abroad who are unvaccinated or who have not had recovered from Covid.

The new rules would enter into force on September 20th.

READ MORE: Travel: Switzerland to tighten entry rules from September 20th

Switzerland reviewing booster dose authorisation

Drug regulatory body Swissmedic is examining applications from Pfizer and Moderna to approve a third shot of their Covid vaccine.

“Swissmedic is reviewing the submitted clinical data on the third vaccine doses (“boosters”) for safety and efficacy, and checking whether the submitted data are sufficient for extending the indication accordingly”, the agency said.

The government has already started administering boosters to people with low immunity, but it is not planning to expand the programme to general population for the time being.

“Vaccines used in Switzerland to date, as well as findings from observational studies, have shown that lasting protection against severe cases of the illness is afforded with two administered doses. Therefore, according to recommendations issued by the Federal Commission for Vaccination, there is no acute need at present for general booster vaccinations in Switzerland”, Swissmedic said.

READ MORE: UPDATED: How can I get my Covid booster shot in Switzerland?

Cost of living in Switzerland highest in Europe

It probably comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with Swiss prices that  a new study shows Switzerland has Europe’s highest cost of living.

The price level here for private consumption is 51 percent higher than in Germany, according to new data from Statistisches Bundesamt, which is Germany’s statistics office.

In regards to prices, Switzerland also tops its other neighbours France, Italy and Austria, as well as Europe’s other notoriously expensive countries, Iceland and Norway.

Health insurance carriers to pay money to their customers

The National Council voted to force health funds to reduce their reserves, which amount to nearly 12 billion francs — more than 200 percent of the minimum required by law.

“This money must be returned to citizens who have paid too high premiums”, said MP Lorenzo Quadri.

Two options are available: a refund or a discount on premiums.

Spend a day at a Swiss farm

On Sunday, residents of Switzerland will have a chance to visit a real working farm in their area, as part of the Open Doors at the Farm event.

Some 139 peasant families throughout the country will welcome visitors and show them many aspects of rural life.

The public will also be able to discover how certain foods are produced, as well as various facets of the farming profession and environment as well as plants and farm animals..

Those interested to find and visit a farm in their area should register ahead of time.

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 Wednesday

Worsening education standards in Swiss schools, the outlook for the value of the Swiss Franc and other news in our daily roundup from Switzerland on Wednesday.

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

Switzerland celebrates anniversary of first train

Switzerland — famous for its punctual railways — celebrated the 175th anniversary of passenger train services in the country on Tuesday with a re-creation of the first journey featuring a steam locomotive.

The first train service on August 9, 1847 linked Zurich with Baden, 23 kilometres to the northwest — a trip which took 33 minutes.

Transport minister Simonetta Sommaruga and around 150 guests boarded the special train to Zurich to mark the anniversary, which involved historic carriages and a steam locomotive.

“The train is part of our basic service. It brings people together and strengthens cohesion in our country,” Sommaruga said, according to the ATS national news agency.

The line between Zurich and Baden was built in 16 months. One of the original bridges is still in use.

Swiss teachers concerned about education standards

Switzerland’s teachers’ association has warned of worsening standards of education at schools because of a lack of certified staff.

Association president Dagmar Rösler told a news conference that an increasing number of primary schools have had to bring in supply staff who are not qualified to be a teacher. 

Rösler said the situation was worse in the German-speaking cantons in Switzerland and that schools were having trouble recruiting teachers to fill vacant positions ahead of the new term.

Rösler warned that the knock-on effect could see parents opt to place their children in private schools or opt for home schooling.

Covid update

Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) announced on Tuesday that there have been 21,817 new cases of coronavirus in the last seven days. There have also been 25 additional deaths and 327 patients have been hospitalised in the same period.

Those figures reflect a 6.6 percent fall in the number of new cases but a 12.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalisations.

On Tuesday some 600 people were being treated in intensive care in Switzerland with Covid-19 patients occupying 6 percent of the places available.

The total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic in Switzerland stands at 13,559 and the overall number of people people hospitalised has reached 57,014.

Swiss Franc to remain level with the Euro

The value of the Swiss franc should remain steady at just below parity with the euro in the coming months, economists have said.

To slow inflationary trends, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is no longer curbing the appreciation of the national currency as much, economists from the group Raffeissen said.

The franc fell below parity with the euro in early July and has remained steady since then. On Wednesday it was trading at around €0.97. At the start of the year, the franc was still worth €1.0379.