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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Thursday
Filling up a car with petrol is getting more expensive. Photo by Erik McLean / Pexels
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

Intensive care units in Swiss hospitals are filling up quickly

As an increasing number of people get infected with coronavirus, hospitals throughout the country are reaching their full capacities — a situation that has not happened since the height of the pandemic in 2020.

At the moment, 215 Covid patients are treated in hospitals, occupying 77 percent of beds in ICUs. And the trend is on the rise, officials report.

Having reached its limits, Vaud’s university hospital (CHUV) already had to transfer several Covid patients to other hospitals in the canton,

The nationwide coordinating health service operated by the army confirms that the situation is similar in several cantons: beds in intensive care units are scarce.

“These are not just isolated cases”, said Rudolf Hauri, Zug’s  cantonal doctor.

And Basel University Hospital has already started delaying elective surgeries to make room for coronavirus patients,  while St. Gallen’s cantonal hospital  is no longer scheduling new operations.

 READ MORE: Swiss hospitals: Sharp increase in the number of Covid patients in intensive care

Geneva’s hospital could implement vaccine requirements for future employees

This is what Bertrand Levrat, the director of Geneva University Hospitals (HUG) will propose to the institution’s board of directors, arguing that hospitals have the obligation to protect the health of employees and patients alike.

While some, including lawyer Philippe Ducor, say such a move “doesn’t fit into Swiss legal culture”, others support this measure.

“It seems obvious that healthcare workers must protect themselves and their patients,” said HUG board member Roger Deneys.

The unions, for their part, reiterate their opposition to compulsory vaccination, considering it to be “unjustified discrimination”.

While forcing employees to be vaccinated is against the law in Switzerland, some companies engage in this practice, including the natonal airline, SWISS.

READ MORE: Swiss airlines makes Covid vaccination compulsory for pilots and cabin crew

And these are the most and least competitive Swiss cantons

UBS Bank’s new Cantonal Competitiveness Index 2021 rates the long-term growth potential of various Swiss cantons, based on 56 criteria.

This year, Zug ranks in the first place as the most competitive canton. Basel-City and Zurich are in second and third place, respectively.

The cantons of Aargau, Schwyz and Vaud are also highly competitive, though they trail behind the three winners.  

On the other hand, two half-cantons of Appenzell, as well as Glarus, Uri, Bern, Ticino and Neuchâtel have “a moderate growth potential”, according to UBS analysts

At the end are the Alpine cantons of Graubünden and Valais, as well as Jura, which “show a lower competitive potential compared to the other cantons”, the study found.

You can see the complete ranking here.

Bye, bye summer, see you (hopefully) next year

Today and in the coming days, temperatures across most of Switzerland will drop, and there may even be snowfall in the mountains, according to predictions of the SRF weather service.

Snow at high altitudes is not unusual for the end of the summer, though this year’s season was less “summery” than in previous years, with repeated heavy rains that caused flooding across much of the county during July.

“Climate tax”: Petrol in Switzerland could get more expensive

Motorists who refuel their vehicles are already paying 1.5 cents more per litre for climate protection measures.

The National Council’s environmental commission wants to impose the surcharge of 5 cents per litre, even though Swiss voters rejected the “CO2 law” in a June referendum.

This increase means that petrol could cost 3.5 cents more per litre. 

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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