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TODAY IN SWITZERLAND

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

Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

More job seekers are finding employment online. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash
More job seekers are finding employment online. Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Swiss epidemiologist: ‘Omicron is an endemic virus’

Health Minister Alain Berset, as well as a number  of infectious disease specialists, have been referring to Omicron variant as “endemic”. What exactly does this mean?

“An endemic virus circulates constantly in a population, with ups and downs”, said Julien Riou, epidemiologist at the University of Bern.The flu, for example, is an endemic virus, “which comes back every winter more or less strongly, depending on factors like the temperature, the number of contacts between people, and especially the immunity of the population”.

Riou added that  in terms of the current pandemic “we think we are in a transition phase and heading towards endemisation”.

READ MORE: Swiss government: Omicron may be ‘beginning of the end’ of pandemic

Men’s pension is twice as high as women’s

There are large gaps between the retirement benefits received by men and women in occupational pensions — the so-called ‘second pillar that is paid in addition to AHV / AVS— according to the latest figures from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

The median of the old-age pension paid for the first time in 2020 amounted to 2,081 francs per month for men against 1,167 francs for women.

These significant differences are due to the type of employment. Women typically experience more frequent work interruptions and part-time jobs, mainly for family reasons. Also, women often have lower wages, contribute less to occupational pensions and therefore receive fewer benefits when they retire.

“Domestic and family work, which is more often done by women, is unpaid and does not count toward old-age pension benefits,” the FSO said.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Everything you need to know about retiring in Switzerland

More Swiss jobs are advertised online

If you are looking for new employment in Switzerland, searching on the internet may prove productive.

In 2021, 40 percent more job vacancies across all regions were found on the jobs.ch and jobup.ch platforms.

This surge shows “a very positive image of the Swiss labour market”, according to JobCloud recruitment agency.

The strongest increases were recorded in the catering and tourism sector (+181 percent), security (+77 percent), and sport and culture (+74 percent). On the other hand, the number of openings in construction and architecture fell by 25 percent, while in IT and telecoms it declined by 7 percent.

Pfizer submits authorisation request for new Covid treatment

New oral drug, Paxlovid, is undergoing a rolling review process by the Swissmedic regulatory agency.

The manufacturer, Pfizer, submitted pre-clinical and clinical results, but under the rolling review process, a complete data is not required immediately, according to Swissmedic.

Further data will follow on a continuous basis as soon as it becomes available.

“This accelerates the review process while at the same time preserving the same level of careful checking of all requirements relating to safety, efficacy and quality”, Swissmedic said.

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 Wednesday

Another case of monkeypox found in Switzerland, Covid boosters could no longer be free, and other Swiss news in our daily roundup.

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

Second case of monkeypox found in Switzerland

The virus was detected in a person in Geneva, who was contaminated “during a trip abroad”, the canton’s Health Department has confirmed.

It added that the infected person “is currently in isolation, his general condition is good and does not currently require hospitalisation”.

Contact tracing is underway to find people who have been exposed to the sick person, the canton said.

This is the second known case of monkeypox in Switzerland, following the one detected in Bern on Saturday in a person who also contracted the virus while travelling abroad.

Globally, about 90 cases have been detected so far.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What is monkeypox and what is Switzerland doing about it?

Health authorities: Travellers should pay for Covid boosters themselves

According to newest recommendations of the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), people travelling abroad who need second booster doses must pay for the shots themselves.

As the fourth vaccine dose is currently recommended only for people with a severely weakened immune system, everyone outside of this group will be charged as yet undefined fee.

Until now, all the Covid vaccinations had been free of charge.

The proposal was sent to the cantons for consultation until June 1st. If agreed on, the Federal Council will adjust the Epidemics Ordinance accordingly on June 10th.

Additional trains in service over the  Ascension and Pentcoast weekends

Road traffic is typically very heavy during the two holiday weekends, falling this year on May 26th – 29th and  June  4th – 6th, respectively.

For travellers who prefer to take the train during this busy period, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), is “significantly expanding” its service towards Ticino, one of the most popular destinations for public holiday weekends.

“There will be numerous additional trains. We will also be increasing the number of seats available on regular trains”, including between Zurich/Basel and Ticino via the Gotthard Base Tunnel, the company announced.

Switzerland and NATO want ‘closer ties’

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reassured Swiss Defense Minister Viola Amherd on Tuesday that the military alliance would maintain a strong partnership with Switzerland.

He said he is “open to closer ties”— a message that “was very important because I want a close collaboration” too, Amherd responded.

Even though some Swiss politicians are pushing for a greater degree of NATO integration due to uncertainties related to war in Ukraine, Switzerland cannot become a member because of its longstanding policy of neutrality.

Switzerland has nevertheless a relationship with the organisation through its Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, and also participates in military exercises with NATO related to cyberattacks.

“We are studying the question” of how Switzerland can further its collaboration with NATO without compromising its neutrality, Amherd said.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: Why isn’t Switzerland in NATO

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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