Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
Heavy rain and flooding alert, Covid is returning, and other Swiss news in our roundup this Wednesday.
Heavy rain may swell Swiss rivers
After the prolonged period of drought during the summer, “intense precipitation” is sweeping several parts of the country, according to Switzerland’s official meteorological service, MeteoSuisse, which is issuing warnings to stay away from waterways.
“The intense rains quickly cause streams and rivers to swell. They can, in some areas, cause flooding or trigger landslides in steep areas”, the service says.
The Bernese Oberland as well as certain parts of French-speaking Switzerland are placed on alert level 3 (out of 5), which represents “significant danger”.
The alert level is also raised to 2 (“moderate danger”) in many regions of German-speaking Switzerland, where local flooding is possible, MeteoSuisse cautions.
Covid cases are increasing again
After dropping steadily during the summer months, coronavirus infections are on the rise again, according to figures released on Tuesday by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
Over 16,826 new infections were reported in a span of seven days — 22.7 percent more than the previous week.
Based on the experience of the past two years, infections increase as the weather turns colder, driving people indoors, where the virus is transmitted from person to person more rapidly.
Expecting the the number of cases to grow, the National Council wants to extend the Covid-19 law, which expires at the end of this year, until June 2024.
The legislation allows the the Federal Council to maintain the measures that are necessary to manage the pandemic.
MPs seek to understand why young foreigners shun the Swiss passport
The Council of States has adopted on Tuesday a postulate to find out why the rate of applications for naturalisation filed by second-generation foreigners is very low.
The Federal Council will have to present a report explaining the reasons for this phenomenon.
Given diverse laws that regulate naturallisation procedures on cantonal level, “it will not be easy to fulfill this mandate,” Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter pointed out.
Calls for speed limit on Swiss motorways to be reduced
Switzerland’s Transport and Environment Association (ATE) is pushing for a lower speed limit on the nation’s highways — from the current 120 km/h to 100 km/h.
The reason is that this measure “could significantly reduce traffic fuel requirements. A positive side effect would be the resulting reduction in CO2 emissions. Fuel reserves would be preserved and the likelihood of a shortage would be reduced”, ATE said in a press release on Tuesday.
Such a measure would have to be decided in the parliament, however.
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