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

Less Covid, more pot — 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 Wednesday
Switzerland's cannabis trial programme is not going to pot. Photo: Shelby Ireland on Unsplash

Covid cases in Switzerland keep declining

As weekly figures released on Tuesday by the Federal Office of Public Health  (FOPH) indicate, the downward trend is still continuing: 28,244 new infections have been recorded in the country since April 11th.

By comparison, 40,000 cases had been registered in Switzerland in a span of seven days in the preceding reporting period.

Covid-related ICU admissions remain stable, with 81 patients hospitalised in Switzerland — the same number as last week, but fewer than in March.

Since the beginning of the month, when the remaining coronavirus restrictions had been lifted, FOPH no longer reports daily figures, resorting instead to situation reports issued once a week on Tuesdays.

Switzerland authorises pilot test for cannabis

The first pilot trial for the controlled supply of cannabis for non-medical purposes will take place in Basel-City, FOPH announced on Tuesday. 

The project’s main objective is to test the sale of cannabis in pharmacies under “strict conditions and …scientific support. The aim is to obtain useful lessons for defining future cannabis legislation”, health authorities said.

Since May 15th, 2021, Switzerland has allowed pilot trials of this kind, stipulating, however, that  they must fulfil strict conditions.

For instance, the study can only include adults whose state of health will have to be constantly monitored. In addition, cannabis products must meet high quality requirements and come from organic farming.

READ MORE: Switzerland to legalise recreational and medical cannabis usage

Homes in border areas set for price rises?

A number of cross-border commuters who work in the Geneva and Vaud area drive quite a distance to their jobs in Switzerland. Given the increasing price of petrol, this daily to-and-from trek is having an impact on their monthly transport costs.

For this reason, some cross-border workers “could be tempted to move from their current location to another, closer to the Franco-Swiss border”, according to a report in Tribune de Genève.

As a result of this new trend, the price of real estate in proximity to the Swiss border in certain regions of Ain, Haute-Savoie and Savoie — that is, the greater Geneva  area — could be affected in terms of sales and prices.

Kyiv doesn’t like Lucerne’s accommodations for Ukrainian refugees

The canton decided to put up the refugees in underground civil protection facilities, which local officials say promote a sense of community, as co-habitants speak the same language and have had similar experiences fleeing the war.

However, the Ukrainian government issued a statement expressing its displeasure with this type of accommodation.

Tetiana Lomakina, who is responsible for setting up humanitarian corridors for Ukrainian refugees, complained that mass housing of this kind should be scrapped in favour of accommodations in private households.

“In this way, our citizens can feel safe and recover from the horrors of war, often marked by long days and nights spent in air raid shelters where they feared for their lives”, Lomakina pointed out.

To date, about 36,000 people who fled Ukraine have arrived in Switzerland; 29,203 of them already obtained protection status S, according to State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

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

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: 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]