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

Zurich offers free Covid-19 tests, again; Swiss trains are more punctual in some regions than others; and other news in our roundup on Tuesday.

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
It is punctual, but not everywhere. Photo: Pixabay

Zurich re-introduces free Covid tests

Since January 2023, only medically ordered Covid-19 tests have been free of charge.

However, as new Omicron variants are circulating in Switzerland, Zurich is offering free tests to any city resident who has symptoms or has been in contact with infected people, municipal authorities announced on Monday. 

The tests are carried out at the Center for Travel Medicine at the Institute for Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention, A maximum of 50 tests, both antigen and PCR, are available each day.

Swiss trains are more punctual than before – except in two regions
Punctuality rate for trains is higher than ever, Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) said on Monday.

However, on-time arrivals and departures are better in the German than French-speaking regions.

Nearly one in 10 trains are more than three minutes late in the the French-speaking parts —9.5 percent versus 5.9 percent nationally.

This difference comes from the reduced time margin between stops in French-speaking Switzerland, according to SBB spokesperson Frédéric Revaz.

“We have kept the same basic schedule structure for 20 years. Additional trains have been put into service and the time reserve is no longer sufficient,” he said. “Also, the number of travelers has continued to increase, which requires more time for connections.”

To solve this problem, the SBB plans to increase the number of trains as well as the length of the journeys, Revaz said.

READ ALSO: How cuts to train services in French-speaking Switzerland will hit travellers

Abra cadabra: This is why chemistry will not make you wealthier

An entrepreneur from Fribourg lost 27,000 francs because he was taken in by a fraudster who had promised to increase his money with a chemical liquid, the cantonal police announced on Monday. 

The alleged offender, a Cameroonian living in Geneva, is in custody. It is believed his accomplices are perpetrating the same fraud in other parts of Switzerland, as well as in France.

According to the police, the so-called “wash-wash” trick is a scam used primarily by perpetrators from African countries.

“Easy money with no risk of loss is an illusion. No one has the ability to chemically duplicate banknotes,” the police stated what should be obvious, but apparently isn’t.

Swiss Post issues Lord of the Rings stamps 

If you are a fan of  J.R.R. Tolkien and his Lord of the Rinds trilogy, you will be happy to know Swiss Post has issued four special postage stamps for the the 50th anniversary of the death of the British fantasy author.

Four designs featuring The Shire, Gandalf, Smaug and Argonath are available in post offices and online from this week, with stamps featuring more characters to be available from September 7th.

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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For members


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

Zurich residents urged to downsize apartments to save on rent; phone scammers target the elderly; and other Swiss news in our roundup on Friday.

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

Zurich residents who willingly move to smaller flats will save on rent

Switzerland’s largest city has been in the throes of housing shortage for quite a while.

Now a 148-unit development called Accu, which is located in the Oerlikon neighbourhood, is launching a project seeking to remedy this situation.


It is encouraging people who no longer need large accommodations to move into smaller, cheaper dwellings within the same property, leaving their apartments for families who need more space.

“For many tenants, their current apartment is too big due to their changing needs,” according to spokesperson Andreas Kern. “Why don’t these people move into smaller apartments if they no longer need all the rooms?”

Anyone who switches flats could save up to 600 francs in rent per month, Kern said.

“With this project-,we want to make a contribution to ensuring that apartments are used on ‘needs basis’,” he added.

New campaign warns against telephone fraud
Swiss Crime Prevention organisation (PSC), along with cantonal and municipal police forces, have launched a new campaign to alert Switzerland’s population about the increasing fraudulent phone calls.

Officials are urging recipients of suspicious calls — primarily the elderly — not to give any money or divulge personal information to unknown callers. They also recommend notifying the police.The campaign, called “Don’t panic, hang up,” will run until mid-November.

READ ALSO: The common scams foreigners in Switzerland need to be aware of 

Trains will run again in the Gotthard tunnel — but not often
On August 10th, a freight train derailed while passing through the Gotthard base tunnel, causing heavy damage to the tunnel infrastructure and resulting in severe rail traffic disruption. 

Certain passenger trains will start running from this afternoon, but at a reduced speed and frequency, the national rail company, SBB, said in a press release on Thursday. 

Rail traffic will continue to be reduced until December, operating only over the weekend. However, three additional trains will be in service during the autumn holidays.

Ahead next week…
Rents will increase
With the start of October, about 1 million Swiss households — all those whose leases are based on the reference rate — will be hit with a 5-percent rent hike.

The hike was announced in June,  but landlords  can only up the rent once a year — either on the specific date mentioned in the lease, or the next possible termination / notice date.

The notice period in Switzerland is typically three months, which means landlords will be able to charge the higher rate from October 1st, 2023.

READ ALSO: Why rents in some parts of Switzerland are now set to increase sharply 
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]