At last: The number of new Covid cases declining
Over 30,000 new daily infections were recorded in Switzerland after most measures were scrapped on February 17th — sparking fears that Swiss healthcare system would soon be overwhelmed with coronavirus patients — but the numbers are now on the downward trend.
With “only” 14,393 cases reported by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on Tuesday, against 23,793 on March 22nd, infections went down by almost 40 percent within a span of one week.
At the same time, Covid-related hospitalisations fell by 21.4 percent, according to FOPH.
This is positive news, but health authorities want to see how the epidemiological situation unfolds after the remaining restrictions — mask requirements on public transport and in health establishments, as well as the obligation to isolate if tested positive — are lifted from April 1st.
Price watchdog: Swiss need an app showing the cheapest petrol stations
With fuel prices climbing due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, “there is an urgent need to set up an application in Switzerland showing the five cheapest stations in a motorist’s area,” said Stefan Meierhans, head of Swiss government’s price surveillance office.
“Consumers need to be able to compare prices in real time”, he added.
However, a motoring organisation, Touring Clus Suisse (TCS), is urging drivers to use common sense and not go too far out of their way to fuel up.
For instance, a detour of 20 kilometres round trip just to save three cents per litre is not advantageous for the wallet or the environment, TCS said.
A number of Russian diplomats in Switzerland are spies
Around a third of the Russian diplomats accredited in Switzerland are either known members of the Russian intelligence service or suspected of working for the secret service under diplomatic cover.
Russian spies are routinely sent to various countries, including Switzerland, as official diplomats. Once there, they infiltrate different groups, gaining access to secret information.
The Federal Intelligence Service (FIS) has identified “continued aggressive espionage activity” in Switzerland, which came to the forefront especially since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24th.
Public finances yield positive post-pandemic results — for now
With the improvement of the epidemiological situation, “the recovery of the Swiss economy should lead to positive fiscal balances in the cantons and social security funds sub-sectors”, the Federal Council announced.
A surplus of about 3 billion francs is expected in 2022 and gross debt should start to decline again from 2023 onward, the government said.
It added, however, that “in light of the Ukraine conflict, these forecasts are coupled with uncertainties”.
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