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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.

Vaccination prevents serious Omicron-related cases, experts say. Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels
Vaccination prevents serious Omicron-related cases, experts say. Photo by SHVETS production from Pexels

Four more cantons reduce the length of quarantines

Solothurn, Schaffhausen, Glarus and Basel-Country are shortening the duration of the quarantine for contact cases from 10 to seven days.

This measure came into force on Tuesday in Glarus, starts today in Schaffhausen and Basel-Country, and on January 10th in Solothurn. Almost all the cantons have now cut their quarantines to seven days. Only Graubünden and Aargau have not yet made this change.

Note that people who have been tested positive must continue to isolate for 10 days.

READ MORE: Covid-19: Most Swiss cantons shorten their quarantine requirements

The verdict is in: Vaccines are effective against severe forms of Omicron

There has been much uncertainty about the level of protection that vaccines offer against the Omicron variant.

But a new study published by the British health authorities confirms that the complete vaccination against Covid-19 offers strong resistance against severe forms of the disease as well as hospitalisations.

This is confirmed by a Swiss epidemiologist Didier Trono. “The figures indicate that with a third dose of the vaccine, we have 88 percent less chance of ending up in hospital if we are infected with Omicron,” he said.

READ MORE: Why hospitalisations in Switzerland are not increasing despite soaring infections?

Speaking of variants…what about the new ‘French’ mutation?

Should people in Switzerland be worried about the variant recently discovered in the south of France?

According to Samia Hurst, vice-president of the Covid-19 Task Force, this as-yet unnamed strain doesn’t seem to be stronger than either Omicron or Delta.

“It needs to be watched, like other similar variants, but at the moment there is no reason to be particularly worried about this one”, she said.

That’s because “ it doesn’t seem to be spreading yet. It may be one of those variants that don’t emerge”.

She added that the mutation of a virus is a natural process but not all of them are a cause for concern.

Owning a Swiss property is getting even more expensive

In the wake of the corona pandemic, the value of residential properties in Switzerland rose sharply in 2021. And real estate prices are likely to continue to go up throughout 2022, according to new Swiss Real Estate Index by Immoscout24.

This price increase is justified on the one hand by the changed housing needs due to the pandemic and on the other hand by the solid economic development.

In addition, immigration is continuing and the supply of land is becoming increasingly scarce, the report noted.

This chart shows the process per square metre in various regions of Switzerland, and by how much they increased last year.

Image: Immiscout24

READ MORE: ‘Lex Koller’: What are Switzerland’s rules for foreigners buying property?

Half of Switzerland’s workers are ready to change jobs

Fifty percent of Swiss workers are open to new professional experiences or are already actively looking for a new job, according to a new survey from the consulting firm Randstad.

Wanting higher salaries is only one of the reasons for a job change, however.

“The pandemic has prompted 52 percent of Swiss employees to rethink the balance between private and professional life”, the survey found.

“Individuals’ expectations of their personal and work goals have changed permanently. People are much more aware of their wants and needs and also willing to make changes to balance different aspects of their life”

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 Tuesday

Swiss workers need wage rises and rent prices rise in Zurich in the latest roundup of news from Switzerland on Tuesday.

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

Swiss workers should get wage increase of ‘up to 5 percent in 2023’

Trade Union Travail Suisse has demanded a general wage rise of between 3 and 5 percent for all workers in the country in 2023.

The rise would allow workers to cope with the rising cost of living in the country as well as to compensate workers for an increase in productivity.

Thomas Bauer an economist from Travail Suisse argues that Switzerland’s economy is in good health at the moment but workers have seen little benefit in terms of wage rises. They have only see prices rise and stress levels increase.

“That has to change urgently,” he said.

That argument was echoed by Johann Tscherrig from the Syna trade union who said: “All workers must get their fair share of the fruits of growth” as they work “to the maximum of their abilities”.

READ ALSO: FACT CHECK: How accurate are the ‘five reasons not to move to Switzerland’?

Rent prices stable in July but increase in Zurich

Rent prices in Switzerland did not see an increase last month for the first time in a year, according to the property site Homegate.

But although July saw prices stagnate or even sightly decrease, the bigger picture shows that rents continue to rise, especially in Switzerland’s cities.

Over the last year they have increased 2 percent in Switzerland as a whole and as much as 6.4 percent in Zurich.

The canton of Graubünden saw a 4.3 percent rise compared to last year whilst rents in the cantons of Nidwalden (+7.3%) and Schwyz (+4.7%) also rose steeply.

Homegate put the general rise down to the fact that “both the number of vacant homes and the number of building permit applications are down, while demand remains high due to immigration.”

READ ALSO: REVEALED: Where in Europe have house prices and rent costs increased the most?

Wolf population in Alps growing exponentially

The number of wolves in the Alps continues to grow but there are concerns that available habitat will soon become too restricted as the population of the wild animal grows exponentially.

The organisation Groupe Loup Suisse (Swiss Wolf group) said the wolf population across the Alps was growing by 25 percent to 30 percent each year.

With around 300 wolf packs living in the Alps this summer the population has occupied around half the habitable area – given that each wolf pack needs around 250 square kilometres of territory on average.

Groupe Loup Suisse estimates therefore that the Alps has around enough space for a viable population of 800 packs.

The organisation believes it’s vital to implement measures to better protect livestock from wolf attacks.

READ ALSO: Swiss organisation again calls for volunteers to scare wolves away

Chimney sweepers in high demand

The high oil and gas prices are scaring Swiss homeowners and many are not getting ready to heat their homes with wood, broadcaster SRF reported.

With that, chimney sweep services are more sought after than ever, with businesses booked weeks ahead, especially in rural areas, where wood stoves and fireplaces are more common. But inquiries from homeowners in larger cities are also increasing, the head of the Association of chimney sweeps Switzerland Paul Grässli says.

He reminds people to have their fireplaces and stoves checked regularly by professionals to avoid accidents. “If the fireplace has not been used for years, it could be dangerous, he says.

READ ALSO: How can you save on your household energy bills in Switzerland?

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