Coronavirus in Switzerland: Ticino authorities call ‘crisis meeting’ to discuss school closures
School authorities in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino are meeting early on Wednesday to debate whether or not schools across the canton should be closed.
Ticino has been the most heavily impacted canton in Switzerland with the coronavirus, with 131 of the country’s approximately 650 cases as at Wednesday March 11th.
There has also been one death in the canton, with an 80-year-old man passing away on Tuesday.
Schools in neighbouring Italy have been closed until April 3rd.
Doctor Andreas Cerny, director of the Epatocentro Ticino, told the Aargauer Zeitung that schools should be closed - and that any other course of action would be irresponsible.
Some parents have supported the school closures, however others have said it would create problems regarding childcare and work.
Border with Italy to remain open with partial closures
Italy has felt the worst of the virus anywhere in Europe, with more than 10,000 infected and over 600 deaths.
Swiss politicians have been engaged in a fierce debate on whether to close the border between Ticino and Italy, as Austria and Slovenia have done.
Switzerland’s Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis pledged late on Tuesday that the border would not close, due primarily to the approximately 4,000 health workers that cross it daily from Italy to work in Switzerland.
On Wednesday however nine border crossings were closed. They are:
Pedrinate -> Chiasso strada (Ponte Chiasso)
Ponte Faloppia -> Novazzano Brusata (Bizzarone), Chiasso strada
Novazzano Marcetto -> Novazzano Brusata (Bizzarone), Chiasso strada
San Pietro di Stabio -> Stabio Gaggiolo
Ligornetto Cantorn -> Stabio Gaggiolo
Arzo -> Stabio Gaggiolo, Brusino Arsizio
Ponte Cremenaga -> Fornasette o Ponte Tresa
Cassinone -> Fornasette
Indemini -> Dirinella (Zenna)
Politicians from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party however said on Wednesday morning that completely closing the border was imperative.
Representatives from the Ticino parliament have also asked that the border be closed.