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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.

More job seekers are finding employment online. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
More job seekers are finding employment online. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Swiss epidemiologist: ‘Omicron is an endemic virus’

Health Minister Alain Berset, as well as a number  of infectious disease specialists, have been referring to Omicron variant as “endemic”. What exactly does this mean?

“An endemic virus circulates constantly in a population, with ups and downs”, said Julien Riou, epidemiologist at the University of Bern.The flu, for example, is an endemic virus, “which comes back every winter more or less strongly, depending on factors like the temperature, the number of contacts between people, and especially the immunity of the population”.

Riou added that  in terms of the current pandemic “we think we are in a transition phase and heading towards endemisation”.

READ MORE: Swiss government: Omicron may be ‘beginning of the end’ of pandemic

Men’s pension is twice as high as women’s

There are large gaps between the retirement benefits received by men and women in occupational pensions — the so-called ‘second pillar that is paid in addition to AHV / AVS— according to the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

The median of the old-age pension paid for the first time in 2020 amounted to 2,081 francs per month for men against 1,167 francs for women.

These significant differences are due to the type of employment. Women typically experience more frequent work interruptions and part-time jobs, mainly for family reasons. Also, women often have lower wages, contribute less to occupational pensions and therefore receive fewer benefits when they retire.

“Domestic and family work, which is more often done by women, is unpaid and does not count toward old-age pension benefits,” the FSO said.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about retiring in Switzerland

More Swiss jobs are advertised online

If you are looking for new employment in Switzerland, searching on the internet may prove productive.

In 2021, 40 percent more job vacancies across all regions were found on the jobs.ch and jobup.ch platforms.

This surge shows “a very positive image of the Swiss labour market”, according to JobCloud recruitment agency.

The strongest increases were recorded in the catering and tourism sector (+181 percent), security (+77 percent), and sport and culture (+74 percent). On the other hand, the number of openings in construction and architecture fell by 25 percent, while in IT and telecoms it declined by 7 percent.

Pfizer submits authorisation request for new Covid treatment

New oral drug, Paxlovid, is undergoing a rolling review process by the Swissmedic regulatory agency.

The manufacturer, Pfizer, submitted pre-clinical and clinical results, but under the rolling review process, a complete data is not required immediately, according to Swissmedic.

Further data will follow on a continuous basis as soon as it becomes available.

“This accelerates the review process while at the same time preserving the same level of careful checking of all requirements relating to safety, efficacy and quality”, Swissmedic 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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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Fewer train connections in Switzerland, cheaper housing in Zurich and the rest of the news roundup on Thursday.

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

Coming soon: more affordable housing in Zurich

Rents are notoriously high in Switzerland’s largest city, but some relief is on the way.

Municipal authorities have successfully negotiated a barter deal with Welti-Furrer real estate company to offer a number of reasonably priced apartments in the Altstetten neighbourhood.

While the amount the flats are renting for was not published, Blick reports that the negotiations yielded “974 square metres of affordable living space to be rented out during 25 years”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How inflation is increasing housing costs in Switzerland

Swiss Federal Railways want to eliminate some train connections

In its draft timetable for 2023, the company (SBB ) proposes to reduce the number of trains circulating between some Swiss cities.

For instance, SBB is planning to do away with the trains departing from Bern at 7:10 am and 4:10 pm, and the departures from Zurich at 6:49 am.

Two morning connections on the Lucerne-Zurich route are also to be eliminated, along with come off-peak-hour trains in other parts on Switzerland.

However, the draft timetable for 2023 also provides for an expansion for the leisure traffic on weekends, including between Geneva and Chur.

New direct connections are also planned on the Romanshorn-Interlaken route. This means that the tourist destinations in the Bernese Oberland will be better linked to eastern Switzerland and the Zurich area.

Swissmedic to Moderna: It’s too early for second boosters

After Paul Burton, chief medical officer of the vaccine manufacturer Moderna, announced in the Swiss media this week that vaccines will have to be administered “year after year”, Switzerland’s drug regulatory body responded that second boosters are not yet planned in the country.

Swissmedic said that neither Moderna nor other vaccine manufacturers have submitted an authorisation request for a second booster in Switzerland.

In order for the process to get off the ground,the Federal Vaccinations Commission (FVC) will also have to issue a recommendation for the booster dose before it is given to all age groups.

For people over 65 or with chronic illnesses, this will likely be possible in the fall, according to FVC head. Christoph Berger.

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

Switzerland wants to speed up the purchase of American fighter jets

Although the decision to buy 36 US-made F-35A planes remains controversial, the Federal Council decided to accelerate the purchase.

With a number of other countries buying these fighter jets as well, the government is concerned there could be delivery delays. “In order for Switzerland to be able to protect its population from air threats beyond 2030, it must receive its first F-35As as early as 2027”, the Federal Council said in a press release.

Under the terms of the agreement, the offer is valid only until March 31st, 2023, but “the deterioration of the security situation prompts the Federal Council to want to fill the gaps in military capabilities quicker than expected”.
 
No specific date is given but it will be before the March deadline, authorities 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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