Coronavirus in Switzerland: Emergency measures set to be rolled out as death toll rises

Coronavirus in Switzerland: Emergency measures set to be rolled out as death toll rises
A picture taken on January 12, 2020 shows the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters prior to a combined news conference following a two-day international conference on COVID-19 coronavirus. AFP
Switzerland's federal health office (FOPH) said on Thursday that emergency quarantine measures introduced in the canton of Ticino will almost certainly be extended to the rest of Switzerland as the death toll rises to six.

“The rest of Switzerland will follow”,  Daniel Koch, head of FOPH’s communicable diseases division told SRF radio

“The rest of Switzerland will certainly do what’s being done in Ticino now. The wave has now arrived in Switzerland,” he said.

So the country will soon be under more restrictive measures, taken in order to protect those who are at risk.

Ticino’s measures include closing of non-compulsory public and private schools such as high-schools or vocational colleges, as well nightclubs, cinemas, gyms and ski areas. 

Elderly people in the area are discouraged from looking after children or taking public transport.

The canton also closed nine of its border points with Italy, leaving just a few crossings open for frontier workers.

Those who do not follow the regulations are liable to receive huge fines.

Not complying with the Federal Law on Epidemics — for instance, by ignoring a quarantine measure ordered by the health authorities —  can result in a 5,000-franc fine

Switzerland's emphasis now is on protecting the most vulnerable – the elderly and those with chronic health problems.

“Because for them the virus is dangerous,” Koch said. “They need hospitals. And if there are too many patients, the hospitals will not be able to cope with the situation.”

Switzerland has over 800 confirmed coronavirus cases and six deaths.

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