Swiss impose tighter virus rules as cases jump

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The Swiss government said on Sunday it was wearing masks in public indoor spaces following new measures put in place after a “worrying” surge in coronavirus infections.

Gatherings of more than 15 people in public would also be banned under the rules that come into force on Monday, while service in restaurants and bars would only be limited to seated customers.

“The sharp increase in the number of contamination in recent days is worrying. In fact, it affects all age groups and all cantons,” the government said in a statement.

Although the pandemic initially largely spared the affluent alpine nation, cases have now skyrocketed and 3,087 new cases were reported on Friday.

Switzerland is today’s European country where virus infections have progressed the fastest in the past week. According to AFP data, it increased 146 percent.

With a population of 8.5 million, 1,822 people were killed.

“Infections have doubled in the last week,” President Simonetta Sommaruga said at a press conference as she unveiled national restrictions on containing a crisis for which the regions or cantons of Switzerland were previously responsible.

However, some Swiss are not happy with the new restrictions. Several hundred people hold a demonstration in front of the Federal Palace in Bern on Sunday.

“It currently only takes a week for the number of cases to double because too many people are infected for each new case,” said Federal Health Minister Alain Berset

He said the percentage of positive tests for COVID-19 was very high at 15 or 16 percent and described the increase in the number of infections as “worrying.”

“(But) we shouldn’t be afraid of this development … we know how to act and this is the moment,” he told the press conference.

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© 2020 AFP

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