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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Wednesday

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

Residents of Geneva are exposed to loudest noise in Switzerland
It looks tranquil but Geneva is Switzerland’s noisiest city. Photo by Anokhi De Silva on Unsplash

Swiss ski resorts are profiting from Austrian lockdown

Switzerland’s mountain resorts in many regions are reporting a high level of bookings for the holiday season, attributing the rush to the lockdown in neighbouring Austria.

As Austrian slopes are closed for the time being, skiers from that country are crossing the border into Switzerland.

Several Swiss resorts  have confirmed this new trend. 

“We are feeling the effects of the lockdown in Austria with more bookings from guests who normally spend their ski holidays in their country”, according to Sabrina Marcolin from Zermatt Tourism.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Everything tourists should know about skiing in Switzerland

Austrians are hitting the slopes in Zermatt. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Zurich and Swiss Re insurers close the doors to unvaccinated employees

Switzerland’s two largest insurance companies have stepped up their measures to fight the coronavirus.

Both now demand compliance with the 3G rule (vaccinated, cured, tested) in their Swiss offices by deactivating “as a preventive measure” the access badges of their unvaccinated employees.

Those who don’t fit the criteria set by the 3G rule must work from home.

The two insurance companies join other large Swiss employers, Roche and Novartis, who already have the same regulations in place: only those who are vaccinated, recovered or tested are allowed on the premises.

Discurras ti rumantsch?

If the answer to this question is “gea” (yes), the good news is that you can apply for naturalisation.

One of the main rules for obtaining a Swiss citizenship is knowledge of a national language.  People usually take it to mean German, French or Italian (depending on the region where they live), but disregard Romansh, even though it is an official language as well.

However, it is now possible to apply and take the citizenship test in Romansh, according to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

Not only that, but all the local variations of the language are allowed — sursilvan, sutsilvan surmiran, puter, vallader and rumantsch grischun.

The exams in any of the above forms will take place twice a year in Chur, the capital of Graubünden, the only canton where Romansh is still spoken by an estimated 40,000 people.

READ MORE: How did Switzerland become a country with four languages?

Hear this: The ranking of noisiest Swiss cities is published

A new analysis by the Zurich Cantonal Bank (ZKB) ranked the noisiest cities in Switzerland.

The winner  — or loser, depending on how you look at it — is Geneva, whose residents are exposed to more than 60 decibels of noise. This corresponds to the volume of a lawn mower at a distance of 10 metres that can be heard even when the apartment windows are closed.

And 94 percent of Geneva’s residences are exposed to a noise level greater than 50 decibels.

In second place of noisiness is Lugano, followed by Lausanne, Zurich, Basel and Biel.

Aarau, Winterthur and Bern, on the other hand, are the quietest locations, according to ZKB analysis.

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

From high standard of living to expiring Covid certificates — 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 Monday

 Switzerland’s standard of living higher than in most of Europe

A new survey by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) has ranked Switzerland in third place, behind Luxembourg and Norway, in terms of distribution of income and the standard of living.

“The standard of living in Switzerland remains one of the highest in Europe. This means that despite the high price levels, the population’s financial situation, after deduction of obligatory expenditures, is more comfortable than that of its neighbouring countries and countries in the European Union”, OFS said.

The average disposable income in Switzerland for 2020 —  the last year for which official data is available —was 2.1 times higher than that of Portugal, 1.4 times higher than that of France, 1.2 times higher than that of Germany ,and 1.1 times higher than that of Austria, according to FSO.

Image:FSO

READ MORE: What is the average salary for (almost) every job in Switzerland?

Millions of Covid certificates expire soon — what’s next?

As certificates are valid for nine months after the second vaccine dose or a booster, “millions of Swiss Covid certificates will expire by autumn at the latest”, according to 20 Minutes.

Since many countries still require a vaccination certificate for entry, and as the second round of boosters is not yet available in Switzerland,  this means that a large number of people may not be able to travel abroad.

And while other countries have already started to administer second booster shots, Swiss health authorities are dragging their feet, not having even issued a recommendation for the fourth dose yet.

This worries some MPs, who are calling on the government to make second boosters available soonest possible.

“The past has shown that cantons are not always sufficiently prepared. Something like this mustn’t happen again”, said MP Fabian Molina, adding that anyone travelling abroad should be able to be re-vaccinated.   

Another deputy, Yvonne Feri, noted that the federal government and the cantons have to prepare to vaccinate again within a short period of time.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will Switzerland roll out second Covid boosters?

Meteorologist: Get ready for very hot summer

It has been hot in much of Switzerland over the last few days, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees in some parts of the country.  But this is just a ‘foretaste’ of what lies ahead.

While this week is expected to be a bit cooler — more seasonal lower 20s —forecasts for the summer months call for even more intense heat. “It will be hotter than usually,” according to Thomas Buchel, head of SRF Meteo.

“New heat records are very likely. It would be surprising if it went in another direction”, he said.

READ MORE: Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

Switzerland purchases Paxlovid to fight Covid

The medication, manufactured by Pfizer, is given to “patients at increased risk of developing a severe form of the disease”, The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced.

The government is buying 12,000 packages of the drug, to be administered initially in cantonal medical centres before it can be prescribed by general practitioners and be available in pharmacies. The government will bear the costs of the outpatient treatment.

Though the antiviral pill is not yet officially approved by the regulatory body, Swissmedic, “it can, under COVID-19 Ordinance 3, be used for the treatment of patients while the authorisation procedure is in progress”, FOPH said. 

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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