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

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 Wednesday
An increasing number of hospital staff is sick with Covid. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Switzerland to buy natural gas from Qatar

As current sanctions against Russia are expected to disrupt energy supply, Switzerland could instead buy natural gas from the Middle Eastern country.

To that end, Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer has met with Qatari Energy Minister Saad Sheriba Al-Kaabi in Doha on Tuesday. The two discussed in particular the delivery of liquefied natural gas to Switzerland.

Until now, Switzerland has imported mostly Russian natural gas and oil for energy production.

READ MORE: Ukraine invasion: How reliant is Switzerland on Russia for energy?

And speaking of energy… costs are increasing

The electricity bill of Swiss households will increase by an average of 20 francs next year.

The higher costs are triggered by the “significantly increased prices on the electricity markets”, according to network operator Swissgrid.

“In 2023, a household with an annual consumption of 4,500 kWh will pay an average of 70 francs for the services provided by the national grid company”, the network operator said.

“This equates to around 8 percent of a household’s total annual electricity costs. This means that the average financial burden on electricity consumers for the Swiss transmission grid will increase significantly overall”, the company added.

New study: High proportion of foreign workers in Switzerland are well educated

Some 41 percent of foreign nationals employed in Swiss companies have university degrees or equivalent higher education — almost the same percentage (43) as their Swiss counterparts.

This is the finding of a new Swiss Labour Force survey from the Federal Statistical Office. (FSO).

The study also indicates that among foreigners, the increase in employment was strongest (+4.4 percent) among cross-border commuters, followed by those with with residence permit B (+3.3 percent).

READ MORE: How the Swiss job market rebounded from the Covid pandemic

Hospital staff sick with Covid

While Swiss intensive care units are not crowded with coronavirus patients, increasing numbers of infected medical personnel are on sick leave, impacting patient care.

Various hospitals across Switzerland report shortages of essential personnel who are absent from work due to Covid.

For instance, almost 100 doctors and nurses are missing at the Zurich University Hospital, and the situation in Basel is not much better.

“After two years of the pandemic, there is now another peak and the number of absent employees has increased tenfold in recent weeks “, according to Nicolas Drechsler, spokesperson for the University Hospital Basel. “ Some operations have to be postponed because surgeons tested positive”.

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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