Federal Government, 13.03.2020

Switzerland imposes sweeping measures to contain corona virus

Switzerland has closed schools throughout the country and imposed a ban on public gatherings of more than 100 people. Bars and restaurants are limited to 50 guests, while the government has pledged CHF10 billion ($10.6 billion) in emergency aid to support the economy.

The package of measures was announced by government ministers on Friday. The ban on gatherings will last until at least the end of April, while schools will be closed until April 4. The border with Italy will remain open, but further restrictions will be applied.

Furthermore, border controls with other European countries may be tightened with a suspension of the Schengen Agreement on a case-by-case basis. Switzerland is not a member state of the European Union, but is included in the Schengen zone.

Last month, the government had imposed a ban on events with more than 1,000 people. This has now been reduced to no more than 100 people.

The number of confirmed Corona infections in Switzerland has now reached 1,000, with 7 people having died so far.

Cashiers now wearing gloves at the Co-op

The CHF10 billion aid package is aimed at helping companies survive the economic downturn caused by coronavirus. Most of the money (CHF8 million) has been earmarked to fund the imposition of short-time work at firms, while other tranches have been set aside for hardship loans and to support specific sectors, such as event management.

The federal government said that it is working with the cantons to ensure that the health infrastructure can cope with the increased pressure from the corona virus.

The nationwide measures, which the government can impose under the terms of the Epidemics Act, have been mirrored in part already in some cantons. Ticino, which borders Italy, has already banned events and restricted restaurants, nightclubs and bars. And Ticino, Vaud and Fribourg had already decided to shut down schools on Friday,

Source: Swissinfo.com