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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

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 Thursday
Certain types of plastic bags will be banned in Switzerland from April 1st. Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash

Patients no longer routinely tested when admitted to hospitals

During the pandemic, everyone admitted to a Swiss hospital had to be screened for Covid.

However, health experts no longer recommend that everyone to be hospitalised be tested upon admission; this procedure should only be administered to people  at risk, according to Swissnoso, the national competence centre for infection prevention.

“With the number of people who are currently being infected, it is hardly possible to prevent coronavirus infections in the hospitals”, said Swissnoso President Andreas Widmer.

He added that patients at risk will continue to be tested for infection, “which can be much more dangerous for immuno-compromised people”.

Switzerland moving toward individual taxation of married couples

In one of the biggest tax reforms in the country, Bern is moving toward correcting an unconstitutional unequal treatment of married couples

Currently, in the field of direct federal taxation, many spouses pay higher taxes than cohabitants in the same economic situation, because married couples are taxed as an economic community, while cohabitants are taxed separately. This phenomenon, known as the “criminalisation of marriage”, primarily affects couples in which both spouses work.

The Federal Council wants to switch to individual taxation, where income and wealth of each spouse will are taxed separately. The amount would be determined by a person’s income, not the overall income of a married couple). 

READ MORE: Does marriage make financial sense in Switzerland?

Very few Swiss travellers offset their carbon footprint

Only 4 percent of air travel in Switzerland is subject to climate compensation via a supplement on the ticket price, but passengers are not willing to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new study from Bern.

When people in Switzerland purchase plane tickets online, they have an option of adding a few francs to compensate for emissions they generate while flying.

However, study results show “that it is quite insufficient to rely on voluntary measures to try to achieve climate protection objectives”, said Sebastian Berger, co-author of this study carried out at the Institute of Sociology of the University of Bern

These results, deemed “not really surprising”, show that “investments in climate protection are only put into action if we can be sure that everyone participates”, Berger pointed out.

And speaking of the environment: “Oxo” plastics will be banned in Switzerland from April 1st

These non-compostable plastics, which disintegrate too fast to be recyclable and are therefore hazardous for the  environment, will be outlawed in Switzerland from April 1st.

By adapting this ordinance, the Swiss government is aligning itself with a similar regulation already in force in the European Union.

READ MORE: Trash talk: What are the rules for garbage disposal in Switzerland?

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 Monday

From a solid approval of all the issues in Sunday's referendum to higher beverage prices: 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

The Swiss say ‘yes’ to three proposals in Sunday’s referendum

Voters in Switzerland have accepted all three of the Federal Council’s proposals, rejecting, at the same time, opponents’ arguments.

The law making organ donation opt out across the country was approved by 60.20 percent, providing more money and staff to controversial EU border protection agency Frontex passed with 71.48 percent, and Lex Netflix – which makes streaming services pay a percentage fee to support Swiss filmmaking – passed with 58.42 percent.

READ MORE: Swiss back ‘Netflix’ law and steer clear of ‘Frontexit’

Read about the reactions in Switzerland to the vote results in our article to be published later today.

Price of beverages is soaring in Switzerland

Another popular product is becoming more expensive: non-alcoholic beverages.

“The price of PET [bottle] is skyrocketing, and with it that of mineral water and soft drinks”, according to a report in 20 Minuten.

“And there is a risk of further price increases.”

For instance, prices per litre of mineral water are now 5 to 10 cents higher, depending on the retailer. 

Of the four major retailers that the newspaper surveyed — Migros, Coop, Aldi and Lidl — only Coop has not yet increased the price of beverages, although its spokesperson conceded the company “cannot currently rule out price adjustments,” due to higher cost of raw materials, the shortage of packaging material, and the increased transport and energy costs.

Beverages have joined a growing list of other everyday products whose prices have increased due to inflation and war in Ukraine.

READ MORE: Seven products that are becoming more expensive in Switzerland

Migros gets tough on “unscrupulous” customers

Due to a growing number of shoplifters, some self-service Migros stores in Zurich are installing special barriers allowing only those who pay for their purchases to exit the store.

Customers who pay at self-checkout terminals must now scan the QR code of their receipt to open a barrier and leave with their purchases.

This is a rather drastic measure, “as Migros and Coop have so far relied on individual responsibility and random checks”, according to Tagblatt newspaper.

Russians critical of the Putin regime want to remain in Switzerland

A number of Russian women in Switzerland, who have criticised the war on social media and are therefore afraid of repercussions from the Kremlin, are asking the Federal Council to grant them asylum.

“I can understand that these women are concerned,” said Ulrich Schmid, Professor of Russian Culture and Society at the University of St. Gallen. “It is possible that the Russian secret service reports on people who are critical of the war”.

Should Russian deserters and opponents of the war get asylum in Switzerland? MPs’ views diverge.

For a Green MP Balthasar Glättli, Switzerland should grant these war objectors humanitarian visas.

However, according to Thomas Aeschi from the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), “Switzerland should treat all asylum seekers equally”, pointing out there are many people in other countries “who are also threatened”.

According to the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), Russians who remain in Switzerland can apply to their canton of residence to extend their existing residence permit. “It will be checked whether they meet the legal requirements for this”, SEM said.

READ MORE: Reader question: Do Russians now have to leave Switzerland?

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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