Today in Switzerland: A roundup of the latest news on Friday
Swiss president offers condolences to the Royal Family, a huge rush on firewood, and other Swiss news in our roundup on Friday.
‘Deeply saddened’: Swiss President offers condolences on Queen Elizabeth’s death
Switzerland’s President, Ignazio Cassis, who had met the Queen in April in London, tweeted on Thursday that he is “deeply saddened” by her passing, and presented the “sincere and heartfelt condolences to the Royal Family on behalf of the Federal Council and the people of Switzerland»
Of the meeting, which took place at Windsor Castle on April 28, he said it was “a mark of friendship between our countries [which] symbolises the close and long-standing ties between Switzerland and the United Kingdom”.
The demand for firewood is exploding in Switzerland
In view of the possible electricity shortage, an increasing number of people are stocking up on firewood to be used for heating during the winter.
“We simply can't keep up with the orders any longer”, said Samuel Jenni, director of Jenni Holz AG, one of Switzerland’s largest wood producers.
The demand for firewood has been so massive that “this hysteria generates a lot of stress for us”, Jenni said, especially since the supply of new wood is not possible until October, when trees are cut.
Markus Heitzmann, head of the Swiss Association for Wood Heaters, which represents around 20 suppliers and manufacturers in the wood heating sector, confirmed the information.
"Whether chips, pellets or logs, the demand is huge”, he said.
Excess mortality in 2022 puzzles health authorities
Since the beginning of the year, Switzerland has registered 3,000 more deaths that normal during this period, and nearly the double of the figure for the same period in 2021, according to data released on Thursday by the Federal Statistical Office.
Health officials are perplexed by this development, but experts believe that the still-lingering Covid and the unusually hot summer are to blame for the excess mortality.
“It is precisely the combination of the two factors that could be fatal”, said Christian Althaus, epidemiologist at the University of Bern.
“Studies have shown that a Covid infection massively increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. The people concerned are therefore also more vulnerable to the effects of the heatwave,” he added.
Another epidemiologist, Martin Röösli, agrees: “From my point of view, it is quite possible that former Covid patients tolerated the heat less well”.
Public transport group wants to entice more young people
While the proportion of journeys made by public transport in Switzerland is 28 percent higher than in neighbouring countries, the umbrella group for the sector, the Union of Public Transport, wants to attract more passengers — especially young ones, considered to be "the largest potential clientele".
In its report released on Thursday, the group said that to achieve this goal it is islooking into offering “a generous ‘welcome gift’ for the 18th birthday of all persons domiciled in Switzerland”.
The association hasn’t specified what this gift could be, but it is likely to be related to the use of public transportation.
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