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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.

Who knew? Switzerland’s public transportation is not the most expensive in Europe. Photo by SBB
Who knew? Switzerland’s public transportation is not the most expensive in Europe. Photo by SBB

Number of new Covid infections reaches record-high

On Wednesday, the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) recorded 38,015 new contaminations — the highest number ever reported in Switzerland in a 24-hour period. 

These are only the infections detected by official tests. However, given that there are also tens of thousands of unsymptomatic and undeclared cases, the more realistic number is between 50,000 and 100,000 infections per day, according to Jürg Utzinger, director of the Tropical and Public Health Institute.

Virginie Masserey, head of FOPH’s infection control unit said “It is possible that we have reached the peak” of the pandemic, which implies that number of cases should begin to drop very soon

READ MORE: Covid in Switzerland: ‘It is possible that we’ve reached the peak’

Surprise: public transport in Switzerland is cheaper than you think

Life is expensive in Switzerland, but a new study conducted in seven European countries shows this reputation does not hold true in the public transport sector.

Swiss fares are within the European average, according to Litra, the information service for public transport in Switzerland, which carried out the study.

Taking into account of the purchasing power of different countries and comparing prices of various types of travel, researchers found that public transport is most expensive in the UK and cheapest in Austria, with Switzerland in the lower middle.

In addition, Swiss public transport is distinguished by high quality “with an exceptionally good price/performance ratio”, the study found.

Switzerland is also first in terms of network density and punctuality — though it has slipped in the latter category lately.

READ MORE: Why Swiss trains are less punctual — and what is being done about it

Verbier voted “best ski resort in the world”

The Valais resort climbed to the top of the world rankings in the World Ski Award 2021competition, the results of which were announced this week.

Verbier, a popular destination for skiers from the UK, was chosen out of 25 international contenders vying for the title.

World Ski Awards, an organisation that aims to drive up standards within the ski industry, praised  the resort’s “nearly 100 lifts and more than 400 km of ski runs for all levels of expertise”. It added Verbier “is also a freeride paradise, a must for skiers from all over the world”.

Verbier beat second-place holder, Kitzbühel in Austria, as well as France’s Val Thorens, which has won the title since 2016.

Omicron will not harm Switzerland’s economy long-term

Despite the impact that Omicron has had on certain industries, the Swiss economy should return to its pre-pandemic growth level this year, according to experts at Raiffeisen bank.

Covid-related restrictions will have only temporary and steadily decreasing impact on the economy, they say.

Even with an explosion in infections and an unprecedented number of quarantines due to Omicron, Raiffeisen economists estimate losses from worker absences at the equivalent of only 0.3 percent of annual GDP.

 “The impact of the coronavirus was able to be absorbed surprisingly quickly in Switzerland”, the economists pointed out.

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

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.


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 sai

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]