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

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

Geneva residents will have to do all their shopping before 6 pm.
Shops in Geneva will not be allowed to stay open until 7 om on Saturdays. Photo by Axel Heimken / AFP)

Most Swiss politicians welcome the outcome of Covid law referendum

The majority of political parties, as well as the economic sector, expressed their relief and satisfaction over the results of Sunday’s referendum, when 62 percent of Swiss voters backed the government’s stance on managing the pandemic, particularly in regards to the Covid certificates.

In a statement echoed by most other political groups, Charles Juillard, vice-president of the Center Party, said that “The population continues to clearly support the measures chosen by the Federal Council and the Parliament”.

Read our article today about how the supporters and opponents of the law reacted to the referendum results.

READ MORE: Swiss voters back Covid pass law

First Omicron case detected in Switzerland

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Sunday night that the first probable case of the Omicron variant — the new Covid strain discovered in parts of Africa that is already present in several European countries — was found in Switzerland in a person who returned from South Africa about a week ago.

“Sequencing will bring certainties in the days to come”, FOPH said.

READ MORE: Omicron variant poses ‘high to very high’ risk to Europe: EU health agency

Covid vaccine would have prevented 2,600 deaths in Switzerland

The regional office of World Health Organisation (WHO) has published research estimating the number of lives saved by coronavirus vaccination in various European countries.

In Switzerland, that number, for the period from December 2020 until now, is 2,643 —211 among those aged 60-69, 495 among people 70-79, and 1,937 among the elderly aged 80 and over.

“What this study shows is that vaccines do what they promise, which is to save lives, offering very high protection against severe forms and death”. said Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe

This link shows statistics for Switzerland and other European countries.

Majority of Swiss are in favour of compulsory vaccination

Making Covid vaccines obligatory is a hot-button topic, with Austria already being the first western country to mandate the vaccine from February 2022.

Although this move is not planned for Switzerland for the time being, a poll published in Swiss media shows that 53.1 percent of the population is in favour of compulsory vaccination, while 45.1 percent support confinement for the unvaccinated.

Vaccination mandate for certain sectors — including healthcare — meets with an even higher approval rate of 69 percent.

However, vast majority of respondents — 78.2 percent — are against new confinement of the entire population.

READ MORE: Will Switzerland make the Covid vaccine compulsory?

Geneva refuses to extend store openings on Saturdays

One of the issues voted in Geneva’s cantonal referendum on Sunday was whether to allow shops to stay open until 7 pm on Saturdays — one hour longer than currently

More than 53 percent of Genevans, however, heeded the calls of trade unions and left parties to reject this proposal in order to protect people in retail industry from working extra hours.

“We are very happy. Genevans understood that this was for the benefit of employees”, said Davide De Filippo, president of Geneva Union Action Community.

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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For members


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

Health insurance premiums to rise, authorities could ban electric heaters, recession worries ease and more news from Switzerland on Monday.

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

Unemployment remains at 2 percent in Switzerland

In Switzerland, unemployment remains at a very low level, Watson news site reported. At 2 percent, the unemployment rate is as low as over twenty years ago.

At the end of July, 91,474 people were registered as unemployed at the Regional Employment Centers (RAV). This is 1,037 less than in June and 36,805 less than a year ago, as the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) announced Monday.

Last month, fewer people in Switzerland were looking for a job. According to Seco, the number of job seekers continued to decline by 5,629 compared to June to 163,315. A year ago, almost 220,000 job seekers were registered with the RAV.

READ ALSO: When is best to look for a job in Switzerland?

Health insurance premiums to rise in 2023

Health insurance premiums are set to rise by almost 10 percent in some cantons, with the highest increases in Ticino, Neuchâtel, and Graubünden, the new site NZZ writes.

According to an Accenture study, the prices need to “catch up” to higher costs in the health care system. But the corona pandemic and various special effects would also have contributed to the current situation.

READ ALSO: How is the Swiss healthcare system different from the rest of Europe?

Authorities threaten to ban electric heaters

The Federal Office for Economic State Supply (BWL) fears that there may be a lack of electricity in an already tight power supply due to many additional mobile electric heaters over the winter, Tagesanzeiger reports. “In this context, the use of electrical appliances could be restricted or prohibited,” says business administration spokeswoman Evelyne Kobelt.

The basis for the ban or a restriction would be the State Supply Act, which provides for such restrictive measures in the event of a severe power shortage.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why you should hold off on buying electric heaters in Switzerland

No recession for Switzerland, forecasters say

Switzerland does not expect to dip into recession this year despite the threat of an energy supply squeeze, the government’s chief economist said Sunday.

The Swiss economy is “doing well” despite the impact of the war in Ukraine on energy prices, Eric Scheidegger told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

He said it was down to companies to steel themselves for the possibility of power shortages in the winter months.

“We may have to revise our economic forecast downwards for next year. The revised forecast will be published on September 20. However, we do not expect a recession for this year,” Scheidegger said.

“We run the risk of an energy supply bottleneck in winter. If there are persistent production interruptions in the EU and we ourselves have a gas shortage, it becomes problematic.

Sperm banks are preparing for increased demand

Sperm banks in Switzerland are getting ready for higher demand after same-sex marriage was approved in the country and artificial insemination is allowed for lesbian married couples.

Since July, with the entry into force of marriage for all, female couples have had access to artificial insemination. And already, Swiss sperm banks have waiting lists, reports the SonntagsZeitung.

Among them is the “OVA IVF Clinic” in Zurich, which can’t offer new appointments for the first consultations until next December. However, its director, Peter Fehr, believes this influx should stabilise after the initial peak. His clinic should then help 30 to 50 lesbian couples become mothers each year.

READ ALSO: ‘Deviance and morality’: The history of the same-sex marriage movement in Switzerland

Sunny and hot in Switzerland this Monday

The weather should be sunny and hot today in Switzerland, according to the Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology MeteoSwiss.

Temperatures will be between 16C and 29C in Geneva, 15C and 32C in Sion, 14C and 27C in Bern, 14C and 30C in Basel, 16C and 27C in Zurich, 17C and 27C in Chur, and 16C and 30C in Lugano.

READ ALSO: Body stress, drought and borders: How the heatwave affects Switzerland