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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

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 Friday
Travel rules are still in place for tourists from third nations. Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

Travel rules remain in place for non-Europeans

Even though the Federal Council lifted previous rules for entering Switzerland, this easing applies only to visitors from EU /EFTA countries.

However, travel regulations remain in place for third-country nationals, according to State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

Non-Europeans must present proof of full immunisation administered within the past 270 days with a vaccine recognised in Switzerland: Moderna, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Sinovac, Sinopharm and Covaxin.

Those who have not received one of the approved vaccines can’t enter Switzerland at the moment.

This link explains what rules are in place for various categories of travellers.

READ MORE: UPDATE: What are the current rules for entering Switzerland?

Poverty in Switzerland is “at a high level”, study finds

“In European comparison, the overall standard of living and satisfaction with life in Switzerland remain high”, according to a new survey by the Federal Statistics  Office (FSO).

Nevertheless, 8.5 percent of the population, or some 720,000 people, were affected by income poverty in 2020

Based on government standards, the poverty line in Switzerland is set at 2,279 francs per month on average for a single person and 3,963 francs per month for two adults and two children.

Most of those affected by financial difficulties are foreigners, single-parent households, and people with no post-compulsory education, the study found.

This is how Switzerland’s poverty level compares to other European nations:

Image:FSO

Swiss virologist: “We don’t know what other corona variants are coming”

Most coronavirus restrictions in Switzerland are now lifted and the whiff of freedom is in the air again.

The last thing any of us want to do is think of Covid’s resurgence.

But as some health experts point out, we must remain cautious. “The pandemic is by no means over from a global perspective”, Isabelle Eckerle, head of the Center for Infectious Diseases at the University of Geneva said in interview with SRF public broadcaster.

The problem, she said, is that coronavirus continues to circulate worldwide, still causing high infection rates. “And the more cases of infection there are, the more opportunity the virus has to develop further. This is a highly dynamic event, and it’s not possible to predict what will happen next autumn and winter”, Eckerle pointed out.

It is therefore important “that the infection process in Switzerland continues to be monitored and documented, even is restrictions are no longer in effect”, she urged.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: Switzerland ends most Covid restrictions — but what’s next?

Will Switzerland outlaw spanking of children?

This question is now being debated within the Legal Affairs Commission of the Council of States, after a proposal to this effect was adopted last September by the National Council.  

The MP behind the motion. Christine Bulliard-Marbach, said such legislation is crucial because, even though corporal punishment was outlawed in Switzerland in 1978, these measures are still prevalent in many families, which “can be humiliating for children and bad for their psychological development.”

She also pointed out that the UN has criticised Switzerland for not respecting its commitments to protect children against parental violence.

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 Friday

Same-sex marriage becomes legal, the number of Covid cases is underestimated, and other news from Switzerland on Friday.

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

Same-sex couples can marry — at last

Today, July 1st, is a historic day for gay couples wishing to wed: they finally have that right in Switzerland.

After the Swiss voted to legalise same-sex marriage in a nationwide referendum on September 26th, 2021, the new law is entering into force today.

These couples will also be able to convert their registered partnership — which did not provide the same rights as marriage, including for obtaining citizenship and the joint adoption of children — into a legal marriage.

READ MORE: Same-sex couples can marry from July 1st in Switzerland

Other laws and rules that are being implemented from July 2022 are detailed here:

Everything that changes in Switzerland in July 2022

Number of current Covid cases in Switzerland is underestimated

This week, 33,108 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Switzerland in a span of seven days, an increase of 34 percent over the previous week.

However, health officials believe the real number of new infections is much higher. That’s because, judging by how many antigen or PCR tests have been done during this period of time, only a small portion of the infected population actually gets screened; most positive cases are therefore not detected.

Swiss health officials already said that 15 percent of Swiss population — more than 1 million people — could catch the Omicron virus (or its sub-variants) this summer.

On the positive side, “the situation is a little better” now than during the Delta variant wave, according to Tanja Stadler, former head of the Covid-19 Task Force, who also said that, despite the increase in cases, Swiss healthcare system will not be overloaded.

READ MORE: ‘Over a million people’ in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

Heavy traffic on many Swiss roads this weekend

With several cantons beginning their school summer holidays this weekend, bottlenecks are expected to slow down traffic within Switzerland as well as on motorways and in tunnels leading to neighbour countries.

These roads are usually most congested during high-volume times like the start of holidays:

  • The A3/A1 Basel-Zurich axis
  • The A3/A13 Zurich-Chur-San Bernardino-Bellinzona-Chiasso axis, particularly near Chur and the San Bernardino tunnel
  • Bern and surroundings (A1/A12/A6 interchange)
  • The A9 Lausanne-Montreux-Martigny-Brigue mainly near Lausanne and Montreux
  • The Martigny – Grand-St.-Bernard tunnel axis

READ MORE: What you should know about driving in Switzerland — and abroad — this summer

Switzerland and France will be linked together

A bridge is to be built between Basel and Huningue, a town in Alsace – the first Rhine bridge connecting Switzerland and France.

On Thursday, Swiss officials, along with their counterparts from France, and Germany — the two countries that border Basel —signed an agreement for the project to start in 2025, and unveiled the plans for the new connection across the river.

“A new bridge over the Rhine is central to growing together and mobility in the three countries”, officials 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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