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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Fewer new vehicles are available in Switzerland right now.
Due to shortage of electronic chips, fewer new vehicles are being sold in Switzerland. Photo by JUSTIN SULLIVAN / AFP

Most people in Switzerland will have Covid antibodies soon

Nearly 80 percent of adults in Switzerland will soon have immunity to the virus, based on data from Corona Immunitas, a research programme at the University of Zurich that studies the spread and impact of the pandemic in the country. 

“If we take all of Switzerland into account, we will soon have a seriological prevalence of 75 to 80 percent”, according to one of the researchers, Milo Puhan.

“From an antibody point of view, the situation in Switzerland is very encouraging”, said epidemiologist Marcel Tanner.

However, according to Tanner, people who have antibodies in their blood are not all immune to the same extent — the vaccinated are better protected against Covid than those who  have recovered from the disease.

Exodus from Switzerland’s largest cities

A new study indicates that a large number of people have left urban  centres in 2020. This trend has particularly impacted Zurich, Basel, Geneva, Lausanne, Bern, Lucerne, St. Gallen, Lugano, and Biel.

The biggest “losers” in terms of population is Zurich, which lost 5,347 residents, ahead of Geneva (3,350) and Basel (1,994).

“The attractiveness of major cities has been lessened by restrictions linked to the pandemic”, the study shows.

“It is therefore not surprising that there were fewer households wishing to settle there”, especially as the teleworking obligation made it less important for empoyees to be in physical proximity to their office.

READ MORE: Home office’: Will the pandemic change the way Switzerland works?

Switzerland unveils its plans for the “Vaccination Week”

In a letter it sent to the cantons, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) detailed its plans for the immunisation campaign, which will take place in early November. 

The campaign is intended to “reach out to as many people as possible who are still undecided and need more information about vaccination “.

Around 1,700 “advisers” will be on hand throughout the country to inform the public about the benefit of the Covid vaccines.

In addition, mobile vaccination units are expected to reach 50,000 residents.

FOPH will aim for a vaccination rate of 93 percent for those over 65 and 80 percent for people aged 18 to 65.

“Given the scale of the problem, it is not only legitimate but also necessary that we go on the offensive”, said Lukas Engelberger, head of the association of cantonal health directors.

READ MORE: 50 francs: What is Switzerland’s new ‘vaccination bonus’?

This is why new vehicles may be harder to find in Switzerland

Fewer new cars were sold in Switzerland in September, according to Autosuisse, the umbrella group of car importers.

The organisation attributes the phenomenon to the global shortage of electronic chips, which restricts the production capacities of manufacturers.

Swiss importers are now worried that the chip shortage and stagnant supply of new vehicles will create more demand for the second-hand market.

Supply difficulties are likely to persist for much of next year, Autosuisse predicts.

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

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

The financing of the pension scheme is safe, no 'free' money will be distributed in Zurich, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Monday.

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

Swiss voters back pension scheme reform

A narrow majority of voters – 50.57 percent — approved on Sunday the government’s proposed amendment to the existing old-age and survivors’ insurance (AHV / AVS), including increasing the retirement age for women from the current 64 to 65, same as for men.

This move  is seen as necessary to keep the AHV / AVS scheme afloat financially as life expectancy in Switzerland is increasing and people require pension benefits longer than in the past.

And 55.1 percent accepted a related proposal to raise the current Value Added Tax of 7.7 percent by 0.4 percent to help finance the scheme.

READ MORE: What impact could Switzerland’s referendum on pensions have on you?

Zurich’s basic income experiment rejected

Also on Sunday, 53.9 percent of Zurich voters turned down a proposal by the political left to introduce a pilot project that would dole out between 2,500 and 3,000 francs a month to 500 city residents.

The issue, which previously failed in other cities, was thought to have a bigger chance of success in Zurich, which is believed to be more “left” than other Swiss municipalities.

However, only two of Zurich’s 12 districts voted in favour of the project on Sunday.

READ MORE: ‘3,000 francs a month?’: Zurich to vote on trying universal basic income

Switzerland not prepared for nuclear attack

As fears over the possibility of Russia using nuclear weapons in its war against Ukraine is growing, Switzerland “is not sufficiently prepared,” for such an event, according to Urs Marti, president of the Conference of Cantonal Officials for Military Affairs and Civil Protection.

For instance, the radioactivity alarm equipment is old, and some nuclear shelters have not been properly upkept, Marti said.   

In response, the National Council’s Security Policy Commission is set to hold a special meeting to discuss ways to remedy the situation.

“We must take stock of the state of civil protection shelters,” said the Commission’s  president, Mauro Tuena.

READ MORE: Reader question: Where is my nearest nuclear shelter in Switzerland?

These Swiss cities are most dependent on imported gas

With the beginning of autumn and colder weather across Switzerland, the subject of Switzerland’s reliance on foreign energy is in the news again.

But the extent of this dependence varies from one municipality to another.

At 96 percent of imported energy, Geneva tops the chart, followed by Lugano (94 percent), Lucerne and Biel (91), Winterthur (87), Bern (83), Zurich (76), and Basel (75).

The reason big cities rely more on gas is that in densely populated areas, this energy source requires relatively little space in buildings.

REVEALED: Switzerland’s best cheese is…

 The Swiss Cheese Championships held in the Valais community of Val de Bagnes last week have come to an end.

Out of more than 1,000 cheese varieties vying for the coveted title, the international jury selected a Gruyère from the village of Montbovon in the canton of Fribourg.

The jury tasted each single cheese, basing its decision on criteria such as cheese’s appearance, taste, aroma, and texture

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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