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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Some relief on the weather front; and higher prices for air travel to continue: this and other news from Switzerland on Monday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Monday
Higher prices for airline tickets will continue beyond summer. Photo by Fabian Joy on Unsplash

This week’s weather: rain

After days of very hot weather, with temperatures exceeding 30 degrees Celsius, forecasts call for rain during the last days of this month, according to Meteonews.

Broadly speaking, a few thunderstorms have already hit some parts of Switzerland on Sunday evening and overnight. Today and the rest of the week will be marked by regionally heavy showers, possibly accompanied by gusty winds and cooler temperatures.

The weather for next few days. Screenshot: Meteonews

While sun may briefly return on Wednesday and Thursday, further deterioration is expected between Thursday evening and Friday.

Depending on the amount of rain that will fall in the next days, the precipitations may bring at least some relief to extremely arid soil, meteorologists say.

Switzerland asked to approve anti-Omicron vaccine

Covid vaccine manufacturer Moderna applied for the authorisation for its updated vaccine that targets Omicron, according to drug regulatory body, Swissmedic.

“The modified composition promises to be more effective against the Omicron variant”, the health agency said.

Previous vaccines were efficient against earlier mutations like Delta, but they proffered no immunity against Omicron, which now accounts for 99 percent of Covid infections in Switzerland.

Swissmedic has not said when approval for the modified vaccine will be given, but it could possibly speed up the administration of second booster doses for general public, which Swiss health authorities have not yet rolled out.

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

Price of airline tickets will continue to rise

As though cancelled flights and chaos at airports don’t cause enough travel woes, flying is becoming more expensive as well.

It’s not unusual that prices of plane tickets increase just before high-volume travel times like summer holidays.

This year, however, as the war in Ukraine is causing fuel costs to go up, airline tickets will be more expensive even during low-travel periods like fall.

SWISS airline, for instance, has increased the prices of its flights worldwide in recent months, and could continue this upward trend in the autumn.

“Due to the current price of crude oil, further price adjustments for air travel are likely this year,” the company spokesperson said.

SWISS’ sister airline, Edelweiss Air, also confirmed its passengers are facing higher costs.

“Flying in the future may cost more than in previous years,” the company predicted.

And speaking of cancelled flights…

SWISS airline already said on June 8th that it is cancelling a number of flights from both Zurich in Geneva during the busy summer travel season, including those to London Heathrow and San Francisco.

On Sunday, Switzerland’s national airline announced that on top of the flights already suspended, “further cuts unfortunately cannot be avoided due to resource constraints and operational challenges across the airline industry”.

The carrier did not specify which routes will be affected, but said passengers “will be actively informed. Automatic reservation changes will be made or individual solutions will be sought”.

READ MORE: Which flights have SWISS airlines cut ahead of summer season?
 

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

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

Questions raised about Swiss fuel prices, further damage to Swiss glaciers, and other news from Switzerland in our Friday roundup.

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

Swiss officials probe high fuel prices

While the price of crude oil is at the same level as before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, gasoline in Switzerland has gotten more expansive.

Right now, a litre of unleaded 95 costs 2.14 francs. However, “if there were a direct link between the price of crude oil and that of fuel, gasoline should cost 1.89 francs per litre”, the same price as before the war, Blick writes in a report.

Though Ramon Werner, head of Swiss fuels supplier Oel-Pool, said that crude oil and fuels are two completely different products, the Swiss Price Monitor’s office is now investigating whether the industry is charging unjustifiably high markups.

 “We have received many complaints in which it is assumed that crude oil price increases are passed through more quickly than corresponding decreases”, said Beat Niederhauser, Deputy Price Monitor.

Heatwave:  Swiss mountain peak resurfaces after 2,000 years

Le Col de Tsanfleuron, which connects cantons of Vaud and Valais at an altitude of 2,800 metres, has been buried under ice for almost two millennia — until now.

Only a decade ago, the thickness of its ice cover was 15 metres.

However, due to this summer’s heatwave, the glacier, which is a part of the Diablerets massif, has now been partially freed, and will be “entirely in the open air”, in a few weeks.

The loss of thickness of the glaciers in the Diablerets region “will be on average thee times higher this year compared to the last ten summers”, according to Mauro Fischer, researcher at the University of Bern.

In all, the summer of 2022 has been disastrous for Switzerland’s glaciers.

Heatwave-related accelerated melting is shifting Switzerland’s borders and causing other irreversible damage.

 READ MORE: Climate change transforming Switzerland ‘into Tuscany’, scientists warn

Fewer apartments for rent, higher prices, and no relief in sight

The number of new constructions does not keep pace with the increase in Switzerland’s population and the corresponding demand for more housing, according to new data released by Raiffeisen bank.

Throughout the country, apartment vacancy rate was 1.25 percent in June of this year, down from 1.54 percent at the same time in 2021, the research shows.

The bank concludes that “abundant supply observed over the past ten years is rapidly eroding, resulting in an increase in rental prices”.

To make matters worse for apartment seekers, “this is only the beginning”, Raiffeisen warned, adding that the causes of this situation are linked to the increase in the population, including newly arrived immigrants.

READ MORE : How foreigners are changing Switzerland

Make a wish upon a star…

Tonight, you will be able to see countless shooting stars with the naked eye in the sky over Switzerland.

This is due to the Perseid meteor shower, a once-a-year event when larger meteors enter the atmosphere.

If you are lucky, you can spot up to a hundred shooting stars per hour — but only under good observation conditions, including a clear sky and a secluded place away from bright city lights.

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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