Among the strategies implemented in Switzerland from midnight Wednesday is the requirement to wear masks outdoors in all urban areas where “the concentration of people does not allow the necessary distances to be respected”.
There is also an 11pm curfew for bars and restaurants, the closure of nightclubs and discos, as well as the limit of 10 people for private gatherings and 50 for public events.
“We all want Switzerland to be able to manage and overcome this crisis as a united country,” Swiss president Simonetta Sommaruga said at a press conference on Thursday. “No one wants to see another semi-lockdown.”
The new restrictions are not nearly as stringent as the ones implemented in the neighbouring countries, where rules range from the lockdown in France, shutdowns in Germany, and night curfews in some regions of Italy.
However, a number of MPs and health experts interviewed in the Swiss media praised the government’s “proportionate and pragmatic” approach.
According to MP Marianne Maret, Switzerland should not necessarily follow the example of other nations.
“In the spring, these countries implemented total lockdowns, while Switzerland opted for semi-confinement. We came out of this situation just as well as they did, but with less damage to our economy,” she said in an interview on RTS public television.
Another deputy, Jacqueline de Quattro, said on the same programme that “not all Swiss cantons have the same high infection rates as Geneva, Vaud and Valais. In the regions where the rates are lower, the new measures may even seem too drastic”.
For the infectiologist Andreas Cerny, “the measures will certainly lead to the infection curve flattening out”, he said in an interview with 20 Minuten news portal.
“We learned from the spring lockdown that closures have probably done more harm than good,” he added. “The new measures won’t restrict our lives too much.”
Verny also pointed out that the Federal Council’s measures are ground rules, “and each individual canton can build on them. The cantons which are severely affected by the wave of infections must tighten their measures further”.
While the semi-confinement is the spring was relaxed after six weeks, “it won't be that fast this time around”, Verny predicted.
“Because the measures adopted are less drastic, they are likely to be retained for longer. The current restrictions will probably stay with us until spring”, he added.
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