Here’s the latest information from Swissinfo.ch regarding the COVID-19 epidemic:
- As of March 30, 15,994 people have tested positive and 361 people have died, according to an aggregate of cantonal statistics.
- By March 30, some CHF 6.6 billion in emergency loans (out of an available fund of CHF 20 billion) had been agreed with around 32,000 companies. Nearly 16% of the workforce is on shortened hours.
- The government has issued a recommendation to all citizens to stay at home, especially the sick and the elderly. It has announced a countrywide ban on gatherings of more than five people and more measures to help support the economy.
- Cantons can close manufacturing plants to cease operation if they follow criteria set down by the federal authorities.
- An “extraordinary situation” has been declared, resulting in a ban on all private and public events and closing bars, restaurants, sports and cultural spaces; only businesses providing essential goods remain open. Schools are closed nationwide. The measures remain in force until April 19.
Some people in Basle didn't approve of the carnival cancellation!
What’s the current situation in Switzerland?
Due to the spread of the coronavirus, the government has categorised the situation in the country as “extraordinary”. This allows the authorities to take over certain powers from the 26 cantons and to impose measures, including bans on events. The application of these legal provisions is a first for Switzerland.
The government has ramped up its response to the widening pandemic, ordering the closure of bars, restaurants, sports facilities and cultural spaces. Only businesses providing essential goods – such as grocery stores, bakeries and pharmacies – are to remain open. Banks and post offices will also be open. The measures are in place until April 19.
The Federal Health Office said numbers of positive tests were rising so fast that it is difficult to provide accurate figures. More than 6,000 tests are being carried out in Switzerland per day. Experts have warned that cases will continue to rise.
The government, while calling on people to stay at home unless necessary, has maintained that daily supplies of medicine and food are guaranteed. It has however rationed some common painkiller and anti-fever drugs, to prevent panic buying.
The government especially recommends that the sick, and people 65 or older, stay at home. Some cantons went further by forbidding over-65s from leaving their homes altogether, except for visits to the doctors, or a two-hour solo walk. However, the Federal Justice Office said such measures are in violation of the nationwide regulations.
A decision by canton Ticino, a region neighbouring Italy, to close down factories and stop all non-essential economic activities was initially considered illegal in Bern; however, an adaptation of federal rules regarding regions introducing stricter measures 'unilaterally' was later announced.
The Swiss government has introduced a countrywide ban on gatherings of more than five people in public places.