Federal authorities said this week that as the epidemiological situation in Switzerland is “deteriorating rapidly”, it intends to standardise and strengthen measures at the national level from December 12th.
After a significant drop in the contamination rate throughout November, due mainly to the containment efforts of French-speaking cantons, the number of infections crept up again, especially in the Swiss-German regions and Ticino.
Some of the most affected cantons, including Zurich, Solothurn, Basel Country, Basel-City, and Ticino have already implemented stricter measures.
“In November, the situation was more positive and hopeful, leading us to believe that we could cut the number of daily cases to between 600 and 800 by Christmas” , Health Minister Alain Berset said in a press conference.
However, this has not happened, and the number of reported daily infections has ranged between 4,000 and 5,000 in the past several days.
“We are now stagnating at a very high level, which is dangerous, especially if the number of infections starts to rise exponentially again”, Berset said.
“Nous nous trouvons dans une situation qui nous paraît dangereuse” @alain_berset a annoncé les nouvelles mesures envisagées: magasins et restaurants pourraient fermer à 19h, réunions privées limitées à 5 personnes, activités culturelles interdites #COVID19 #ForumRTS @RTSinfo pic.twitter.com/Y2PKyHvsMg
— Forum (@Forum_RTS) December 8, 2020
To curtail the spread of the virus in the coming days and weeks, the Federal Council is proposing to implement these further restrictions from December 12th until January 20th:
- It is proposing that restaurants close at 7 pm, instead of 11 pm allowed currently, and remain shut on Sundays. This measure would extend to shops, markets and leisure facilities as well.
- It also proposes that five people from two households can gather for private events, with exceptions for celebrations for up to 10 people from December 24th to 26th, and on December 31st for Christmas and New Year festivities.
- All cultural activities would also be prohibited.
- Public demonstrations would be banned, except for religious celebrations and legislative assemblies. However, skiing would be allowed, as it is an outdoor activity. Rules are in place to ensure skiiers’ safety.
The Federal Council added the final decision on the implementation of the new restrictions would be made on Friday.
Berset said that if the situation were to deteriorate further, other measures will follow on December 18th, such as the closure of restaurants and shops.