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Today in Switzerland: A round-up of the latest news on Thursday

Various objects have been found over the years on Swiss glaciers
Melting snow on Swiss glaciers often yields unusual finds. Photo by Danilo Bargen on Unsplash
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Lucerne introduces compulsory mask requirement at events

From Friday, everyone attending events in the canton of Lucerne must wear a mask, in addition to having a Covid certificate.

The additional mask requirement should help to contain the spread of the virus, cantonal authorities said.

Lucerne is the first Swiss canton to immediately react to the Health Minister Alain Berset’s press conference on Wednesday, where he told  cantonal authorities to implement Covid rules oh their own territories, as the Federal Coumcil is not planning to do so on a national level for the moment.

READ MORE: Switzerland tells cantons to lead the fight against ‘critical’ Covid surge

Swiss health insurance companies systematically refuse to pay for certain treatments

According to a report by SRF public broadcaster, some insurance carriers repeatedly refuse to approve costs for medical care or laboratory tests, sometimes offering no justification for the denial.

As health insurance is compulsory in Switzerland, costs for treatment and medications ordered by doctors should be paid for.

One physician, oncologist Marco Siano, told SRF he has witnessed this in his practice.

 “Time and again I experience that almost identical requests for costs re assessed completely differently by different health insurers. That shows me the system isn’t working”,  he said.

A spokesperson for the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), which supervises insurance companies, said it is aware of these refusals.

It wants to examine the criterion for”equal treatment of the insured” as part of its annual audits of the health insurance companies.

READ MORE: REMINDER: Deadline approaches for all changes to Swiss health insurance

Snow is expected in some Swiss regions

Starting today, the temperatures  in Switzerland will drop and a few millimetres of snow could fall in the plains.

Switzerland will find itself in a  “low pressure corridor”, according to Swiss Meteorological Service MeteoSwiss. This means colder weather, with the  rain-snow line, dropping from around 1,400 to 500 metres.

For Saturday, Sunday and Monday, Switzerland could end up with 5 mm of fresh snow in the plains and up to 10 mm in the mountains.

Swiss archeologists keep discovering new finds on glaciers

Bones, leather, wood, and military projectiles are among the objects routinely found in the Swiss Alps, as melting glaciers unveil objects trapped under the ice

As a result of global warming, glaciers are melting and yielding elements that have been trapped underneath, sometimes for hundreds or even thousands of years.

The Cantonal Archeology Office of Valais has launched an IceWatcher app that allows anyone who spots “a find” on the surface of the glaciers to report their discovery.

Among the most common discoveries are fragments of military ammunition, which should should not be touched but reported to the National Misfire Reporting Center.

READ MORE: Swiss glaciers continue to shrink despite heavy snow in 2021

Swiss court rules in the birds’ favour

A wind park on Grenchenberg hill in the Jura mountains must scale down its plans to deliver renewable energy by decreasing the number of turbines from six to four in order to protect some bird species in the area, the Federal Court ruled.

The ruling came after ornithologists and conservationists complained that wind turbines would interfere with local populations of woodlarks and peregrine falcons, deemed vulnerable in Switzerland.

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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