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

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

Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday
No wonder confinement and working from home is not good for the figure. Photo by Pavel Danilyuk, Pexels

Switzerland has fewer intensive care beds than neighbour countries

According to new data from the Organisation for Economic Development and Cooperation (OECD), there were 11.8 intensive care places for every 100,000 inhabitants in Switzerland in 2018 — just below the average of 12 beds / 100,000 in the 22 OECD nations.

At the top is Germany with 33.9 places, followed by Austria (28.9) and France (16.3). Italy is the only neighbouring country with fewer intensive care beds (8.6).

However, the most important metric is not the number of intensive care beds but  “qualified staff to take care of the patients in the beds. And qualified staff cannot be increased or re-trained within a short period of time”, said Tobias Bär, spokesperson for the conference of cantonal health directors.

READ MORE: A struggle for each bed’: How Covid admissions impact hospitals in Switzerland

United States discourages travel to Switzerland

The US State Department and the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have just issued the red (highest) “do not travel” warning for Switzerland.
This is due to “very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing severe symptoms may be lower if you are fully vaccinated”, the State Department said. 

Rescue operation for injured Swiss cows

The incident went almost unnoticed in Switzerland but was deemed important enough to be featured on American television.

“Twelve cows in Switzerland had to be airlifted down a mountain after getting injured during their summer trek in the Swiss Alpine meadows”,  reported the Inside Edition, a US TV programme that specialises in “offbeat stories, investigations” and — in this case quite literally — “uplifting news”.

“One by one, they were picked up by a harness attached to a helicopter and treated to a scenic descent through the majestic mountains”, the programme reported.

You can see the video of the daring rescue here: 

The pandemic made Switzerland’s population fatter

What do you do when you are confined or working from home, and all the fitness centres are closed?

You open the fridge and eat…and eat.

It is therefore hardly surprising that residents of Switzerland gained 3.3 kilos on average in 2020, according to a new study by University of St. Gallen.

That is a considerable weight gain, especially compared to five previous years, when an average weight gain among Switzerland’s residents was only 100 grams.

An initiative against military jets to be launched today

On September 27th, 2020, Swiss voters narrowly approved the government’s plan to spend 6 billion francs on new fighter jets. Several contenders were considered, but in June of this year, the decision was made to purchase 36 F-35 planes.

However, the Group for a Switzerland without an Army, the Socialist Party and the Greens, are launching an initiative today against the purchase.

They argue that the American-made jets “are oversized for the needs of Switzerland …In addition, with this fighter plane, the US secret service will always be on board. This choice is therefore absolutely scandalous from a democratic point of view”.

Opponents must collect 100,000 signatures within 18 months for to bring their issue to a national vote.

READ MORE: Swiss decision to purchase US fighter jets could force second referendum

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 Friday

Heating with wood to become more expensive, redacted vaccine contracts, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Thursday.

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

Heating with wood is starkly more expensive

It’s not only the prices for fossil fuels, oil and gas that have risen sharply in Switzerland. Even those who rely on alternative energies such as wood as a fuel currently have to dig deeper into their wallets, SRF reported.

The pellets made from pressed sawdust are 46 percent more expensive than a year ago. “In general, we can summarise that the increase is due to higher production costs,” said Peter Lehmann, President of the “proPellets” Association. In addition to processing, wood is also more expensive.

Last year, almost 50 percent more pellet-based heating systems were built than in 2020, which has increased the demand for pellets. However, Lehmann assumes that the price will not decrease in the medium term; wood as a raw material is too much in demand in the current situation.

READ ALSO: Five of the biggest challenges facing Switzerland right now

Swiss government publishes redacted vaccine contracts

After a long period of resistance, the Swiss government disclosed the vaccine purchase contracts. Before that, however, it had redacted them out extensively, Watson reported.

The authorities have kept it a secret even the duration of secrecy, so the Swiss won’t know how long it will take until they can see the complete contracts. The lack of transparency has brought on criticism against the government.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: Why vaccinations are not mandatory in Switzerland

Almost 10 percent of Ukrainian refugees have found jobs in Switzerland

A total of 9.4 percent of adults possessing a special “S” permit are working, with most employed in the restaurant sector, the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) said.

Nearly a quarter of them (23 percent) are active in the restaurant industry. In addition, 17 percent work in the “planning, consulting, IT” sector. Agriculture and education each account for 8 percent of those with the S status.

There are currently 61 424 status S applications in Switzerland, of which 59 411 persons have been granted S status, SEM said.

READ ALSO: 200,000 in 2022: Immigration fuelling Swiss population surge

Federal Council wants to decide on sanction policy in August

Switzerland’s Federal Council wants to discuss whether or not to adopt the so-called “thematic” sanctions of the European Union, Tagesanzeiger said.

These sanctions work differently than those imposed on a specific country. Instead, they allow measures to be taken against individuals, companies and organisations from different countries that violate certain rights. They are primarily concerned about violations regarding chemical weapons, cyber and human rights.

Specifically, in March 2021, the EU decided to sanction some persons, organisations and institutions from North Korea, Libya, Eritrea, South Sudan, Russia and China for serious human rights violations.

The controversial decision could lead to Switzerland sanctioning China, with Minister of Economic Affairs Guy Parmelin against adopting the measures.

READ ALSO: Switzerland bans imports of Russian gold