Today in Switzerland For Members

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

Helena Bachmann in Geneva
Helena Bachmann in Geneva - [email protected] • 24 Jun, 2022 Updated Fri 24 Jun 2022 08:06 CEST
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Most Swiss retirees don't worry about money. Photo by Sven Mieke on Unsplash

Eight hour waits at some Swiss hospital emergency units, new rules for driver’s licence withdrawals and other news from Switzerland on Friday.

Swiss emergency rooms overflow with patients

A number of hospitals in Switzerland are reporting overcrowding in emergency rooms, with patients sometimes waiting eight hours to be treated.

“We are at maximum capacity and we are not the only ones in this situation ”, said Aristomenis Exadaktylos, chief physician of the emergency centre at the Inselspital in Bern.

This situation, however, has nothing to do with the increase in the rate of Covid infections.

Instead, most cases are consequences of staying outside in extreme heat, with alcohol also a contributing factor, according to Nicolas Drechsler, spokesperson for Basel’s university hospital.

The other day, 60 patients were in the emergency in the middle of the night, he said. "We had to ask ambulances not to bring any more people, otherwise the waiting times would have gotten completely out of hand”.  

Swiss pensioners mostly satisfied with their financial situation

More than two-thirds of retirees in Switzerland don’t see their financial situation deteriorate when they stop working, according to a new study by the insurer Swiss Life.

In total, 73 percent of people aged 65 and over live in a household with a high or very high degree of financial satisfaction.

Half of survey respondents said they have assets of more than 300,000 francs, on top of the income from their pensions. In addition, about a third of respondents have enough income after retirement to continue saving.

One in five retirees, however, say they face financial difficulties and are forced to dip into their savings.

Nevertheless, spending habits of Swiss pensioners change once they stop working, the study found. For instance, health expenditure, including health insurance premiums, increases, while that for dining out and for transport drops.

Some drivers who lose their license can continue to use car for work  

The Federal Council has decided to allow people whose driving license is withdrawn due to minor infractions to continue driving, but only for work-related reasons.

However, in cases deemed “moderately serious” or “serious” (for example, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs), “no authorisation can be issued”.

Those who have had their license withdrawn “for an indefinite period or permanently for security reasons”, as well as people whose license was revoked more than twice in five years, will not have the right either.

READ MORE: What to do if you have a car accident in Switzerland?

Imported gold: the plot thickens

As The Local reported on Wednesday, more than three tonnes of gold, worth around $200 million, were shipped from Russia to Switzerland in May, despite sanctions against Moscow.

But there is a mystery about which of the four Swiss refineries has ordered the shipment. All four deny any involvement, and the umbrella group, Swiss Association of Manufacturers and Traders of Precious Metals, also confirms that none of its members is at the origin of these imports.

Marc Ummel, head of the raw materials section at the Swissaid humanitarian foundation, said the gold could also be used by a Russian oligarch for money laundering. He urged the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to shed full light on this affair.

READ MORE: Why is Switzerland importing Russian gold?


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Helena Bachmann in Geneva 2022/06/24 08:06

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