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

Turn down the heat a bit to save money on your rent.Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels
Turn down the heat a bit to save money on your rent.Photo by Erik Mclean from Pexels
Find out what's going on today in Switzerland with The Local's short roundup of the news.

New record for Covid cases in Switzerland

Switzerland has registered 13,375 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, according to figures from the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).

This is the highest number of new daily infections since the pandemic began in March 2020.

“The situation is extremely unfavourable”, said Patrick Mathys, FOPH’s head of the crisis management section.

This increase in infections is in line with a recent analysis by the Covid-19 Task Force, which warned that “a number of cases exceeding 20,000 per day by the second week of January is a plausible scenario” for Switzerland.

READ MORE. ‘20,000 cases per day’: Experts draw Covid forecast for Switzerland

Major hospital prepares for influx of Covid patients

The Geneva University Hospitals (HUG), Switzerland’s largest medical facility, expects to be “under very strong tension” until the end of February, according to its director, Bertrand Levrat.

Due to the highly contagious Omicron variant, which is now dominant in Switzerland, the pace of admissions “is accelerating”, Levrat said.

He added that 69.6 percent of the samples at the HUG screening center turned out to be positive, a situation he qualified as  “unheard of”.

Other Swiss hospitals are under pressure as well. Lucerne’s cantonal hospital, for instance, is overwhelmed by “mostly young and unvaccinated” Covid patients, “who require about as many resources as five to ten patients with heart problems,” said  Christoph Henzen, the hospital’s chief of internal medicine department.

“We are therefore in the process of preparing the decisions to triage patients”, he added.

READ MORE: Should vaccinated people have triage priority in Swiss hospitals?

Weather alert: ‘Considerable danger’ ahead

It may not be the kind of weather we expect for New Year’s, but heavy rains, dumping about 90 mm of water on the northern slope of the Alps, are forecast for the rest of the week, according to Juerg Marquardt from Meteonews.

Also, as there is currently a comparatively large amount of snow in the mountains, the avalanche danger continues to rise.
 “When it rains on the snow, it works like a sponge. If they then loosen, avalanches can happen”, he said.

The federal government’s natural hazards portal, MeteoSchweiz, also warns of local avalanches and floods due to the precipitation and expects, among other things, that streams, waterfalls or normally dry ditches could swell and flood.

Rents in Switzerland to go up in 2022

Blame on the increase in the price of fuel oil for heating: while it now costs, on average, 2,100 francs to fill a 3,000-litre cistern (consumption of an average house per year), the price will go up to 3,150 francs —  50 – percent increase.

Also, the CO₂ emission reduction target for Switzerland not having been reached last year, the CO₂ ordinance provides that taxes for fossil fuels must increase by 120 francs per tonne of CO₂, or nearly 7 additional cents per litre of fuel oil.

To save on heating costs, tenants are urged to lower the temperature in the rooms by 1 to 3  degrees, which could result in saving 15 to 20 percent of heat.

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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