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

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

Russia is beating Switzerland in chocolate exports. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash
Russia is beating Switzerland in chocolate exports. Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Experts call for tougher anti-Covid measures

Swiss health officials are issuing warnings that the current restrictions will not be enough to prevent an overload of hospitals.

Rudolf Hauri, member of the Conference of Cantonal Health Directors, said that if the epidemiological situation does not improve rapidly and drastically, “from the point of view of the association of cantonal doctors, we will soon have to consider proposing other measures to political decision-makers “.

For example, he mentioned the “2G plus” approach: allowing access to certain public places only to vaccinated and recovered people who will have been tested beforehand — a measure that would goi beyond the already stringent “2G rule” which allows access to venues only to vaccinated and recovered certificate holders, but doesn’t require additional test.

Other proposals include limiting the capacity of certain events or even, as a last resort, the complete closure of certain venues.

READ MORE: ‘2G’: Will Switzerland further tighten the Covid certificate?

Switzerland’s worst drivers are in Ticino

The risks of being seriously injured or killed in a road accident are higher in Ticino than elsewhere in the country, according to new statistics from the Accident Prevention Bureau (BPA).

However, “compared to 2010, Ticino’s number of seriously injured or killed people per 100,000 inhabitants has fallen the most, reaching an average of 51 today versus 99 in 2010”, BPA said.

 “In French-speaking Switzerland, this figure rises to 49 and in German-speaking Switzerland to 45”.

Statistics concerning Ticino are the same as in a previous study, carried out earlier in 2021 by AXA insurance. It found that drivers in the Italian-speaking canton suffered the highest number of car accidents between 2016 and 2020 — more than 20 percent above the Swiss average.

READ MORE: MAPS: Which Swiss canton has the worst drivers?

Switzerland fights the least against smoking in comparison to rest of Europe

High taxes and high cigarette prices go hand in hand with lower tobacco consumption, research shows.

However, Switzerland has the lowest overall tax burden on cigarettes in Europe.

Also, along with Germany, Switzerland has the weakest tobacco control measures. This is what the Swiss Lung League, the Swiss Association for the Prevention of Smoking, and the Zurich University of Applied Sciences claim in a new comparative study.

Earlier this week, The Swiss Association for Tobacco Control already called for an increase in taxes on cigarettes —  14 francs, compared to 8 currently — as a way to prevent people from smoking.Under the plan, the price of cheapest package would increase from 5.50 francs to 10.20.

“Compared to the level of wages and costs in Switzerland, 5.50 francs for a pack of cigarettes is very cheap,” said Wolfgang Kweitel, head of public affairs at anti-tobacco group.

An increase in the price causes a reduction in the number of smokers, according to studies, he said.

This is what the Swiss Googled most in 2021

Google’s annual retrospective of trending searches this year shows that ‘Euro 2021’ has been the most frequently sought term by Internet users in Switzerland.

This top term is followed by ‘coronavirus Switzerland’ in the second place and ‘Champions League’ in the third.

‘Squid Game2 and ‘iPhone 13’ are also among the top-searched terms.

The most surprising news of the day

Switzerland has always been thought of as the largest chocolate exporter in the world, but it is no longer the case.

The country has been unseated — no, not by Belgium — but by an unlikely contender. It is ‘unlikely’ because it is more associated with vodka than chocolate: Russia.

According to UN trade data, Russia exported  $839 million worth of chocolate this year up to September 2021, while Switzerland is now in the second place with $819 million.

If Russia starts exporting more army knives and luxury watches than Switzerland, we’ll know for sure something is wrong with the world.

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 Friday

From online scams to avoid to hot weather forecast: find out what's going on on Friday in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

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

Campaign launched against online shopping scams

Swiss police are warning the public against online shopping scams, including  the latest one, involving the activation of an online payment system that allows scammers to make several online purchases at the expense of the victim.

The best way to protect yourself and not fall prey to scammers, police say is to:

  • Always verify the sender and amount when receiving a payment request;
  • Never transmit a confirmation code to third parties;
  • Always check account statements;
  • Immediately report any suspicious transactions;
  • Report any such crime to the police.

All the advice and recommendations can be found on this website.

READ MORE:  How to avoid the most common online scams in Switzerland

Free travel for Ukrainian refugees to end

Since March 21st, refugees from Ukraine have traveled free of charge in on public transportation in Switzerland, a service which was provided by the federal government.

This perk, however, will end from June 1st.

“This free travel saved us from considerable administrative work, as these people would have had to be issued transport cards for each stage of their registration procedure”, according to Anne Césard, spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

A number of MPs are challenging this decision, however.

 “If these people can no longer travel for free, this will constitute an additional obstacle to their chances of integration, knowing that the financial aid granted to them is very low”, said Pierre-Yves Maillard.

“As long as the majority of these people cannot meet their needs sufficiently, we must continue to help them by extending this free service, even if it is in the form of a subsidy”, said another deputy , Benjamin Roduit.

United States impressed by Swiss sanctions

The US government has praised what Switzerland has done so far in the search for Russian funds to block, according to Scott Miller, the American ambassador to Switzerland.

Bern has made “immense progress” in freezing about  6.3 billion francs, belonging primarily to Russian oligarchs with ties to president Putin.

“This is a package of sanctions of a weight and breadth that, to be honest, have never been seen in the world”, he added.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland is a magnet for Russian money

Get ready to be very hot today

If Swiss meteorologists got it right, temperatures will reach the high of 32 degrees today.

“The current heat wave is relatively extreme for a month of May”, said meteorologist Joshua Gehring from official weather service MeteoSwiss.

Screenshot MeteoSwiss

The reason: “What we are currently experiencing, that is to say a relatively early heat wave, is a direct consequence of climate change”, Gehring noted.

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

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]