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

Why are the Swiss falling out of love with cross-border shopping and what are the Swiss actually worried about? Read about this and other local developments in our brief news roundup.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
New exchange rate is not favourable for cross-border shopping.Photo by Pixabay

What the Swiss worry about most

We reported on Wednesday that the top concern of the Swiss public in 2021 was the Covid pandemic and its aftermath. That finding comes from a recently released Worry Barometer survey by Credit Suisse bank.

However, an even newer study, carried out by consumer website, reports that “the Ukraine conflict is now the biggest worry among residents of Switzerland”.

On the other hand, “the Swiss largely consider the pandemic to be ended. The coronavirus did not even land a place in the top 20 biggest causes of worry among residents of Switzerland”.

The reason for this disparity is that Credit Suisse survey covered 2021, when Covid was the dominant issue in the country and nobody suspected that Russia would invade Ukraine in the near future.

The Moneyland study was conducted in April, which explains why the public’s main concerns have shifted.

However, some worries that showed up in last year’s study still preoccupy many Swiss today. Among them are climate change (57 percent of respondents), the state of the environment (54 percent), and cost of health insurance premiums (51).

READ MORE: REVEALED: What Swiss residents worry about the most

 Purchasing power of cross-border shoppers is declining

Swiss shoppers who bought food and other products in neighbouring countries used to save quite a bit of money. However, this practice is no longer as advantageous.

Blame it on the currency exchange.

Just a few weeks ago, the franc and the euro reached near-parity. Now, however, the euro is strengthening against the franc, with one euro buying 1.05 francs.

As an example, at the moment, 5,000 francs is worth about 4,700 euros — in other words, a “loss” of 300 francs in a span of a few weeks.

According to Tribune de Genève, 300 euros is not a trivial sum “in a context of general inflation, where the prices of consumer goods and personal services are increasing, impacting the purchasing power of households”.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: What does euro-franc parity mean for Switzerland?

Zermatt hotel rated among the 10 best in the world

The Omnia Hotel in the Valais resort of Zermatt  is ranked in the 5th place overall out of 25 rated in TripAdvisor’s new “Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best” hotels worldwide.

It did exceptionally on the four criteria judged, namely its location, cleanliness, service and value for money.

The wood-and-glass hotel sits at the foot of the famous Matterhorn, which certainly didn’t hurt it in the “location” category.

The Omni. Screenshot, “Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best”

Among  “mountain”  hotels, The Omnia moves up to the second place. This particular category includes two other Swiss hotels, Parnass, also in Zermatt, which landed in the 13th place, and Boutique Hotel Schluessel in Beckenreid (Nidealden), in the 17th.

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: 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]