Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann
Helena Bachmann - [email protected]
Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
The Léman Express train (here at Geneva's Cornavin station) is a contributing factor to higher housing costs in the region. Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

New Covid sub-variants, higher housing prices in Geneva and neighbouring France: find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.


New Covid variants are emerging

Although the number of Covid cases has declined sharply in Switzerland in the past two months, the virus is re-emerging in some parts of Europe, particularly in Portugal, where the rate of infections has tripled since the beginning of May.

The latest outbreaks are due to Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, which have also been detected in some regions of Switzerland, but not to the same extent as in Portugal.

Though Swiss epidemiologists forecasted the recurrence of coronavirus mutations in the fall and winter, “a new wave of infections during the summer months cannot be ruled out in view of the progression of new sub-variants”, according to Simone Buchmann, spokesperson for the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

Unvaccinated and vulnerable people are expected to be most at risk of contamination, but the new strains “don’t appear to be more severe” than previous ones, she added.


The Swiss get ready to vote again — this is what’s at stake

In November, delegates from Switzerland’s largest retail chain, Migros, voted in favour of allowing the company’s 630 supermarkets to sell alcohol, lifting the  94-year-old ban on booze sales.

The final word was left to the company’s regional cooperative organisations and their 2.3 million members, who will cast their ‘aye’ or ‘nay’ on Saturday.

Counting of votes will begin on Tuesday and the result will be announced in mid-June.

Migros’ ban on alcohol sales has been in effect since 1928, when the company’s founder, Gottlieb Duttweiler, enacted it to protect public health and fight against “the all-powerful alcohol industry”.

READ MORE: UPDATED: Switzerland’s Migros overturns ban on alcohol sales

Geneva: Cross-border train pushes housing costs upwards

When the Léman Express was inaugurated in December 2019, its main goal was to connect Geneva with neighbouring French towns and provide a quicker commute for cross-border workers.

However, according to Tribune de Genève (TDG), the rail link is causing rents and property prices in the vicinity of the train’s 45 stations to soar by 8 to 9 percent — a sharper increase than elsewhere.  

Prices rose in the French departments of Haute-Savoie and Ain, as well as in Swiss cantons of Geneva and Vaud, all of which lie along Léman Express’ 230-km track.


Zurich Greens are demanding ‘menstrual leave’ for city employees  

Anyone who suffers from menstrual cramps should be able to be exempted from work in the municipal administration for up to five days. This is what the Green deputies on the city council are calling for.

Needless to say, these absences should be with full pay.

This option should also be open to trans and non-binary people.

Party members are urging city officials  to carry out a pilot test for menstrual leave and the experiment should then be scientifically evaluated.


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