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

From online scams to avoid to hot weather forecast: find out what's going on on Friday in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Be aware of online scammers ready to attack your wallet. Image by Bartek Zakrzewski from Pixabay

Campaign launched against online shopping scams

Swiss police are warning the public against online shopping scams, including  the latest one, involving the activation of an online payment system that allows scammers to make several online purchases at the expense of the victim.

The best way to protect yourself and not fall prey to scammers, police say is to:

  • Always verify the sender and amount when receiving a payment request;
  • Never transmit a confirmation code to third parties;
  • Always check account statements;
  • Immediately report any suspicious transactions;
  • Report any such crime to the police.

All the advice and recommendations can be found on this website.

READ MORE:  How to avoid the most common online scams in Switzerland

Free travel for Ukrainian refugees to end

Since March 21st, refugees from Ukraine have traveled free of charge in on public transportation in Switzerland, a service which was provided by the federal government.

This perk, however, will end from June 1st.

“This free travel saved us from considerable administrative work, as these people would have had to be issued transport cards for each stage of their registration procedure”, according to Anne Césard, spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM).

A number of MPs are challenging this decision, however.

 “If these people can no longer travel for free, this will constitute an additional obstacle to their chances of integration, knowing that the financial aid granted to them is very low”, said Pierre-Yves Maillard.

“As long as the majority of these people cannot meet their needs sufficiently, we must continue to help them by extending this free service, even if it is in the form of a subsidy”, said another deputy , Benjamin Roduit.

United States impressed by Swiss sanctions

The US government has praised what Switzerland has done so far in the search for Russian funds to block, according to Scott Miller, the American ambassador to Switzerland.

Bern has made “immense progress” in freezing about  6.3 billion francs, belonging primarily to Russian oligarchs with ties to president Putin.

“This is a package of sanctions of a weight and breadth that, to be honest, have never been seen in the world”, he added.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why Switzerland is a magnet for Russian money

Get ready to be very hot today

If Swiss meteorologists got it right, temperatures will reach the high of 32 degrees today.

“The current heat wave is relatively extreme for a month of May”, said meteorologist Joshua Gehring from official weather service MeteoSwiss.

Screenshot MeteoSwiss

The reason: “What we are currently experiencing, that is to say a relatively early heat wave, is a direct consequence of climate change”, Gehring noted.

READ MORE: Heatwave: Why is it so hot in Switzerland right now?

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: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday

Decision on booster vaccines, and more Covid cases: this and other news from Switzerland on Wednesday

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

Second boosters: not before fall

The Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) announced on Tuesday that second booster shots for general population will be available in the fall, “when the risk for individuals and the burden on the healthcare system will be greatest”.

 Right now, those with a weakened immune system and people over the age of 80 are the only ones eligible for free vaccines.

However, people who are travelling to countries where proof of up-to-date immunisation is required but whose Covid certificates are no longer valid, can receive the fourth dose but upon request have to pay for the shot.

READ MORE: Reader question: When will Switzerland authorise second Covid booster shots?

Covid cases continue to climb

While health authorities are stalling with making second boosters available to general public, the number of coronavirus cases announced by FOPH on Tuesday in its weekly report has increased by 40 percent in a span of seven days.

Some 46,025 new contaminations were detected in the week between June 28th and July 5th, up from 33,108 cases the week before, and 24,704 three weeks ago.

The steadily growing rate of infections is in line with epidemiologists’ warnings about the rapid spread of the highly contagious Omicron sub-variants.

READ MORE : ‘Over a million people’ in Switzerland could be infected with Covid this summer

Shopping tourism: Fewer Swiss buy in Germany

Even though the euro is at near parity with the franc, and purchasing goods abroad is now cheaper, up to 30 percent fewer Swiss shop in Germany now than prior to Covid pandemic.

The reasons for this trend reversal are unclear, but German shopkeepers are unhappy.

“This is causing headaches for German merchants in the border area. The decline in the number of Swiss shoppers is dramatic”, according to Claudius Marx, general manager of the Hochrhein-Bodensee Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“The Swiss still have significantly higher purchasing power than our northern neighbours. They could also combine the shopping trip with filling up the car. In Germany, petrol and diesel are cheaper than in Switzerland”, he added.

READ MORE: Reader question: Can I leave Switzerland to fill up my car in Germany?

Switzerland’s population is nearing 9 million

At the start of 2022, 8,736,500 people lived in Switzerland. Six months later, at the beginning of July, 100,000 more were registered, government data shows.   

This growth spurt is due mainly to foreigners: Out of 100,00 new arrivals, 60,000 are people who have fled Ukraine, in addition to 32,700 immigrants from other countries and 6,800 asylum seekers.

In all, 200,000 more people, mostly foreigners, could be living living in Switzerland in the near future, swelling the number of residents to nearly 9 million.

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]