Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Worsening education standards in Swiss schools, the outlook for the value of the Swiss Franc and other news in our daily roundup from Switzerland on Wednesday.
Switzerland celebrates anniversary of first train
Switzerland -- famous for its punctual railways -- celebrated the 175th anniversary of passenger train services in the country on Tuesday with a re-creation of the first journey featuring a steam locomotive.
The first train service on August 9, 1847 linked Zurich with Baden, 23 kilometres to the northwest -- a trip which took 33 minutes.
Transport minister Simonetta Sommaruga and around 150 guests boarded the special train to Zurich to mark the anniversary, which involved historic carriages and a steam locomotive.
"The train is part of our basic service. It brings people together and strengthens cohesion in our country," Sommaruga said, according to the ATS national news agency.
The line between Zurich and Baden was built in 16 months. One of the original bridges is still in use.
Swiss teachers concerned about education standards
Switzerland's teachers’ association has warned of worsening standards of education at schools because of a lack of certified staff.
Association president Dagmar Rösler told a news conference that an increasing number of primary schools have had to bring in supply staff who are not qualified to be a teacher.
Rösler said the situation was worse in the German-speaking cantons in Switzerland and that schools were having trouble recruiting teachers to fill vacant positions ahead of the new term.
Rösler warned that the knock-on effect could see parents opt to place their children in private schools or opt for home schooling.
Switzerland's Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP) announced on Tuesday that there have been 21,817 new cases of coronavirus in the last seven days. There have also been 25 additional deaths and 327 patients have been hospitalised in the same period.
Those figures reflect a 6.6 percent fall in the number of new cases but a 12.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalisations.
On Tuesday some 600 people were being treated in intensive care in Switzerland with Covid-19 patients occupying 6 percent of the places available.
The total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic in Switzerland stands at 13,559 and the overall number of people people hospitalised has reached 57,014.
Swiss Franc to remain level with the Euro
The value of the Swiss franc should remain steady at just below parity with the euro in the coming months, economists have said.
To slow inflationary trends, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) is no longer curbing the appreciation of the national currency as much, economists from the group Raffeissen said.
The franc fell below parity with the euro in early July and has remained steady since then. On Wednesday it was trading at around €0.97. At the start of the year, the franc was still worth €1.0379.