‘Worst infection rate in Switzerland’: New lockdown measures introduced in Vaud

'Worst infection rate in Switzerland': New lockdown measures introduced in Vaud
An elderly man wearing a protective face mask walks in a street in Lausanne, Vaud. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP
With hospitals reaching capacity and amid the worst infection rate in Switzerland, the western canton of Vaud has today introduced a range of new lockdown measures.

Under the new rules, nightclubs are to be closed, masks will be required in all indoor settings and events with more than 100 people are banned. 

The new measures apply from Thursday, September 17th at 3pm. 

According to Swiss news outlet Tages Anzeiger, ID requirements will also come into effect. 

“Wearing a mask is compulsory in cafes, restaurants, bars or casinos for both employees and customers,” the newspaper writes. 

“Drinks may only be served in places where they are drunk sitting down. Reliable identification is also a prerequisite. The mask requirement also applies in all publicly accessible closed rooms such as theatres, concert halls, museums, exhibitions or libraries.”

Currently, Vaud has the highest rate of infections in Switzerland on a per capita basis. 

Of the 528 cases reported in Switzerland on Friday, September 11th, 208 were in Vaud – around 40 percent of the country's new cases. 

Vaud now has recorded 197 cases per 100,000 residents over the past 14 days, well ahead of Fribourg (136) and Geneva (124).

On Monday, September 14th, Switzerland's total infection rate for the past 14 days crossed the threshold of 60 per 100,000 residents for the first time. 

This would make Switzerland a high-risk area, according to the government's own metrics. 

Coronavirus: Switzerland now officially a high-risk area 

Hospitals overrun?

Speaking to the media on September 15th, Vaudois health director Rebecca Ruiz said “it could soon happen that hospitals no longer have capacity”. 

Authorities in the canton are concerned and expect infection rates to continue to rise. 

“The canton's goal has always been to protect vulnerable people in particular, and to ensure that the health system is not overloaded,” Ruiz told the media on Wednesday, September 15th. 

Philippe Leuba, head of the Department of Economics, said concerns about the economic impacts of the measures were secondary. 

“The government's first concern is people's health,” he said.

“The second concern is the economy.” 

Nine cantons now require masks in shops and supermarkets

Vaud was one of the first cantons to require masks in shops and supermarkets. With the new rule extending to all inside areas – including bars and restaurants – it is now one of the strictest anywhere in Switzerland. 

Nine cantons have put in place compulsory mask requirements in shops and supermarkets: Zurich, Solothurn, Fribourg, Valais, Basel City, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Vaud and Jura.

Masks have been required on public transport in all Swiss cantons since July 6th.

 


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