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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

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 price of meat is set to become more expensive. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

Switzerland releases 80 million francs for Ukraine

The Federal Council will provide 80 million francs for humanitarian aid in Ukraine.

About 20 million will be used for Ukrainians fleeing for safety to neighbouring countries. The remaining three-quarters will be allocated to the population remaining on site.

This is in addition to 500 tonnes of relief material already delivered to Ukraine, Poland and Moldova, where a number of Ukrainian refugees are currently living. 

Switzerland sends financial aid to Ukrainian refugees who crossed the border into Poland. Photo by Louisa GOULIAMAKI / AFP

READ MORE: Switzerland’s special visa program: What Ukrainians need to know

Infectious disease specialist: “Pandemic is not over yet”

In an interview with SonntagsZeitung, Marcel Salathé, an epidemiologist  at the Federal Polytechnic Institute of Lausanne (EPFL), said Covid “will surprise the world again”.

Even though the mortality and hospitalisation rate are now low thanks to vaccination and collective immunity, the virus continues to spread so much that Covid-related deaths and hospital admissions will increase again, Salathé noted.

He warns that Switzerland should prepare for a new coronavirus wave in the fall, when a fourth dose of Covid vaccine could be necessary for a large part of the population.

Where are Switzerland’s cheapest and priciest apartment rentals right now?

There are differences in the cost of renting an apartment among cantons and even municipalities within the same region.

What is the situation on the rental front right now?

According to Simon Hurst, senior consultant at real estate appraiser IAZI/CIFI, the long-standing trend still holds true : “The closer to the centre of a large city, the more expensive it gets. The demand there is greater than the supply.”

At the moment, rents in the Lake Zurich and Lake Geneva regions still remain among the highest in Switzerland, not having budged in years.

As for the cheapest, IAZI/CIFI lists these:

  • Biasca (TI): median price 950 francs
  • Tramelan-Valbirse (BE): median price 995 CHF
  • Delémont (JU): median price 1,075 CHF

READ MORE: These maps reveal where rent prices are highest in Switzerland

Meat prices are set to become more expensive

Aside from the price of fuel and other consumer goods that have gotten more expensive in Switzerland due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the cost of meat is also going up.

This is linked to the fact that the cost of agricultural products in general is rising, which will have an impact on food for farmed animals and on the costs of the entire food chain.

While meat prices have not increased until now, a spokesperson for Migros said “the current crisis will surely make itself felt in the coming months”.

READ MORE: How will the war in Ukraine impact the cost of living 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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For members

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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