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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

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

During pandemic, more Swiss students became interested in fields of virology and epidemiology. Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels
During pandemic, more Swiss students became interested in fields of virology and epidemiology. Photo by Artem Podrez from Pexels

Hundreds of thousands of Swiss Covid certificates expire today

As the validity of Switzerland’s Covid certificate is being reduced from 365 to 270 days to comply with the EU rules, several hundred thousand people will find themselves without a certificate starting on February 1st.

While the new measure pertains to all certificate holders, the most affected will be those who received their second dose of vaccine before May 7th, 2021 and who have not had a booster shot.

Their certificates will be re-activated only if a third dose is administered.

READ MORE: Switzerland: ‘Hundreds of thousands’ of Covid certificates to expire on Tuesday

Swiss passport granted primarily to highly qualified people

This trend can be seen across Switzerland, according to Walter Leimgruber, head of the Federal Migration Commission.

“Naturalisation procedure has become easier for highly qualified people, while the hurdles are now higher than they used to be for the less educated”, he said in an interview with SRF public broadcaster.

Leimgruber added that this way of granting citizenships “leads to a two-class society. Certain immigrants have found that citizenship remains unattainable and they seem unwelcome. The result is resignation and indifference to issues that we as a society in this country have to deal with together”.

Here’s how to avoid paying a 200-franc fine

Starting today, motorists must have a motorway sticker affixed to the windshield of their car.

If caught driving on a motorway without the sticker, they will be slapped with a 200-franc fine.

The sticker is valid until January 31, 2023 and can be purchased for 40 francs at petrol stations and post offices throughout Switzerland, or online.

New motorway sticker. Photo: Swiss government

READ MORE: Everything that changes in February 2022 in Switzerland

Covid sparks interest in health professions

Swiss universities report that since the pandemic began, more students are interested in professions related to infectious diseases, especially in the field of virology and epidemiology.

At the University of Zurich, for instance, the number of students in virology courses has grown from 44 in 2018 to 91 in 2021. 

The same trend is observed at the University of Basel, which received more requests for the master’s degree in epidemiology in 2021 than in previous years.

New finding: a third of Covid patients in Geneva were infected in hospital

The University Hospitals of Geneva (HUG), the largest medical facility in Switzerland, admitted 564 patients to their Covid units in the first three weeks of January.

But 32 percent of these people were infected with Omicron while in the in hospital.

This is a relatively new phenomenon. According to HUG’s own data, in the fall of 2020, only 10 to 12 percent of cases had a nosocomial origin — infections that were not present during admission.

 “This situation reflects the very high contagiousness of the [Omicron] variant”, said HUG spokesperson Antoine de Saussure.

Andreas Widmer, president of Swissnoso, the National Center for the Prevention of Infections, pointed out that HUG doesn’t necessarily have a higher proportion of nosocomial infections than other health facilities, but the hospital has “the most advanced monitoring system in Switzerland”, which may explain why so many cases are detected there.

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

Unemployed foreigners, sexist work ads, and other news: find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the latest happenings.

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

Zug helps unemployed expatriates find new jobs

Out of the 1,300 current job seekers in Zug, a relatively high proportion of around 300 people are foreign employees. This is due to the fact that an above-average number of international  companies — mostly in raw materials, chemical and financial services sectors — are based in the low-tax canton.

However, according to a report by public broadcaster SRF, finding a job is more difficult there because most foreigners in Zug are highly specialised in their fields and can’t easily switch from one industry to another.

The canton is now helping unemployed foreigners back into the job market — for instance, by setting up job fairs where job seekers meet recruiters and companies looking for personnel.

 “Zug is a very attractive job market, and if we help the unemployed expats, many can gain a professional foothold here again”, according to Gianni Bomio, president of the canton’s Association for Labour Market Measures.

READ MORE: MAP: Where do Switzerland’s English-speakers live?

Swiss bank blasted for sexist advert

Postfinance,  a financial services unit of Swiss Post, is looking to hire software developers, but only those who  — according to an ad placed on the LinkedIn’s career platform  — “do not devote working hours to the fight for equality”.

Specifically, it seeks employees who want to work out “the difference between 0 and 1 and not between XX and XY” — the former referring to codes and the latter to male and female chromosomes.

While the advertisement was intended to be clever, “with this text, Postfinance is massively devaluing the fight for equality”, said Agota Lavoyer, an expert on sexualised violence.

In its defense, Postfinance responded that its ad was misunderstood.

“The message is that equality is firmly anchored in the culture at Postfinance and is so normal that employees do not have to spend any time on the job thinking about it”, said spokesperson Dörte Horn.

Now is a good time to sell your house

Property prices have skyrocketed in recent months, and a house today costs almost 30 percent more than a decade ago, according to real estate consultancy firm Iazi. And in certain high-demand areas like Zurich and the Lake Geneva region, prices are significantly higher.

Ruedi Tanner, president of the Swiss Chamber of Brokers (CSC) said owners who are selling their properties now “have clearly chosen a good time”.

The demand is such that “in many regions, there are hardly any more offers on the property market”, he added.

READ MORE: Swiss property prices see strongest rise in years

Idyllic Ticino village a hub of criminal activity

When the Italian-speaking canton published its annual statistics recently, many were astonished (and not in a good way) to discover that a small commune of  Riva San Vitale registered 791 crimes in 2021.

This means the crime rate has increased by 1313 percent compared to previous year. “When I read that, I was flabbergasted,” said Antonio Guidali, mayor of the 2,600-resident community.

It turns out, however, that there is no need to rush for bullet-proof vests; according to police reports, only two residents, who committed several hundred cases of insurance fraud, are to blame for the staggering crime rate.

The statistical anomaly occurred because each single case of fraud has been registered as an individual offense

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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