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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
The idea of a basic income makes a comeback in Switzerland. Photo by Fabrice Coffrini / AFP
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Good news on the epidemiological front, but….

Fewer infections were reported in Switzerland since the beginning of this week, with the number of new daily cases dropping from more than 3,000 at the beginning of September to 1,235 on Tuesday.

However, the fourth wave is not over yet, according to Patrick Mathys, head of the crisis management section at the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), who pointed out that the cases could go up again as colder weather drives more people indoors.

A similar situation happened in September 2020, when numbers declined before increasing again, leading to a new wave in the fall.

More people in Switzerland vaccinated with Moderna

Of the two Covid vaccines administered in Switzerland — Moderna and Pfizer — more people received the former one.

In all, 53.75 percent of the population is noe fully vaccinated, which means the numbers are slowly rising but have not yet reached the level recorded in the European Union.

READ MORE: Covid-19 vaccines: Why is Switzerland lagging behind other EU countries?

New rules could be imposed on cross-border shopping

Today, residents of Switzerland who make purchases abroad can bring back 300 francs worth of goods without paying taxes. Beyond this amount, VAT must be paid on the total value of the goods purchased.

However, some MPs want to limit this value to 50 francs for those who make a quick trip across the border to fill up on groceries. The goal of this measure is to curb shopping tourism.

On the other hand, people who stay abroad longer than 24 hours (and can prove it) would still be able to bring in 300-francs worth of goods.

READ MORE: NEW: Switzerland announces tougher Covid border rules for travellers

New basic income initiative launched in Bern

Unconditional Basic Income (RBI) of 2,500 francs per month for all is resurfacing in Bern.

After 78 percent of the canton’s  population rejected this move in June 2016, an independent committee of political parties launched a new initiative called “Living with dignity – For an unconditional basic income”.

The aim of the initiative is to enable all people living in Switzerland “to lead a dignified existence within the family, society and the economy”, even for those who are not gainfully employed, the initiative’s authors say.

A similar idea had been raised in other Swiss cantons in the past but never got off the ground.

Covid pandemic has sparked a boom in some health care studies

More students than ever before are studying epidemiology and public health in Switzerland this year,

“We have seen a doubling of the number of our students enrolled in the Certificate of Advanced Studies in public health”, according to Murielle Bochud, head of the Department of Epidemiology and Health Systems at Unisanté

The same situation is observed at the Swiss Tropical Institute of Public Health in Basel, where the number of Masters students in epidemiology has also doubled.

“Two years ago, if you asked someone what an epidemiologist is, he would have had no idea. Now everyone knows what it is”, said Christian Lengeler, head of the department .

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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