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Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 6 May, 2022 Updated Fri 6 May 2022 08:07 CEST
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Tops are optional: the new rule will apply to everyone. Photo: Pixabay

From higher health insurance premiums ahead to topless swimming — find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

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Health premiums to soar by five percent in 2023

Premiums for basic health insurance will rise drastically in the fall, according to online price comparison site, Comparis.ch

One of the reasons for the sharp increase of the already high premiums — besides additional costs incurred during the Covid pandemic —  are lower reserves held by insurance carriers.

This is why many of them now lack "the necessary financial cushion to absorb current cost fluctuations,” said Comparis’ analyst Felix Schneuwly.

Read more about this price hike in our detailed article today.

But insurance costs are not the only ones that are are going up…

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Higher consumer prices in Switzerland: "This is only the beginning"

Energy, food, and housing are among segments experiencing price hikes, even though, with an overall price increase of “only” 2.4 percent, inflation remains more moderate in Switzerland than in other European countries, where it fluctuates between 5  and 10 percent.

However, for the Consumer Federation of the Swiss-French Region (FRC), "this is only the beginning".

The main cause of inflation in Switzerland is rising cost of energy. Gasoline, for example, has increased by 25 percent since the start of the Ukrainian war. Food prices are also expected to climb in the near future, experts say.

Some Swiss bunkers need renovations

Switzerland has a sufficient number of civil protection shelters for the entire population, but some facilities need to be modernised and repurposed for their intended use.

That’s because since the end of the Cold War, many of these premises, which were built decades ago, have fallen into disrepair .

Essential components such as ventilation systems and gas filters will have to be replaced. It is up to the cantons to either dismantle bunkers that are no longer functional or renovate those that can be salvaged.

The federal and cantonal governments are now discussing how this task can be undertaken with the goal of providing secure facilities to all of the country’s residents in case of an attack or another emergency.

Today, Switzerland has 360,000 communal shelters able to accommodate the entire population in case of need.

READ MORE: Ukraine war drives sudden demand for bomb shelters in Switzerland

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Swiss MP wants women to drop their bikini tops

Since May 1st, all users of the public swimming pools in Göttingen, Germany, can swim topless on weekends on trial basis. The new regulation was triggered by a storm of outrage that erupted after a non-binary person was reprimanded and banned from an outdoor pool for taking off her bikini top.

Now Social Democratic MP Tamara Funiciello is urging Swiss officials to adapt the same regulation.

“Such a topless rule is absolutely necessary in Switzerland”, she said. “Women should be able to walk around, swim, and sunbathe as they please”.

Helena Trachsel, head of the Equal Opportunities Office in the canton of Zurich, also believes that toplessness makes sense: “From an equal opportunities perspective, it is clear that the same rules apply to all genders, including women and non-binary people”, she said.

However, Martin Enz, managing director of the Association of Indoor and Outdoor Pools sees no need for action: "If a person discreetly drops their bikini top and does not show off, this is accepted in most outdoor pools. The problem tends to be men who gape “, he noted.

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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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/05/06 08:07

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