Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Wednesday
More Covid cases, flight cancellations continue, and other news from Switzerland on Wednesday.
Covid cases continue to soar
In a span of seven days, 33,108 new cases of coronavirus have been reported in Switzerland, according to new data released on Tuesday by the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH).
A week ago, FOPH announced 24,704 new cases over the same period of time, which means the number of new infections has increased by 34 percent, while at the same time Covid-related hospitalisations went up by 19.5 percent.
Swiss health officials predict that 15 percent of Swiss population — more than 1 million people — could catch the virus this summer.
Novartis lays off 1,400 employees in Switzerland
The pharmaceutical giant Novartis will eliminate 1,400 jobs — more that 10 percent of its workforce — the Basel-based company announced on Tuesday.
Some of these jobs will be outsourced to Novartis subsidiaries abroad, notably to Prague and Hyderabad, India.
The cutbacks are part of the restructuring programme that the healthcare company, second largest in Switzerland and one of 10 biggest in the world, has undertaken in April.
SWISS will cancel hundreds more flights by October
Switzerland’s national airline already said on June 8th that it is reducing or canceling altogether some of its scheduled flights, including five flights per week to London Heathrow.
On Tuesday, the airline announced it would be suspending 646 more flights between August and October, without specifying at this time which routes will be affected.
The cutbacks are due mostly to staffing shortage and other air traffic issues, such as “bottlenecks in air traffic control in Europe, at ground service providers around the world, as well as at SWISS”, company spokesperson said.
Swiss Alps lack workforce
Many sectors and regions throughout Switzerland are desperately searching for skilled employees, ranging from IT specialists to hotel and restaurant workers.
The shortage of personnel is also felt acutely in the Swiss Alps, where many farming positions need to be filled, including those that involve tending mountain cows.
Admittedly, these jobs are not for everyone: qualifications needed for this kind of work include experience in mountain agriculture, and “those who are willing to work ten to twelve hours a day for a modest wage,” according to Sulzer.
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