Swiss announce gradual easing of virus measures

By: AFP      Published: 07:23 PM, 16 Apr, 2020
Swiss announce gradual easing of virus measures
A woman wearing a protective mask waits as she queues to shop at the reopening of the Plainpalais marketplace in Geneva. AFP

Switzerland announced on Thursday a three-stage easing of the restrictions imposed to suppress the COVID-19 pandemic, with some shops and services allowed to reopen from April 27.

Switzerland stopped short of imposing full confinement in emergency measures brought in last month to combat the new coronavirus, which has killed more than a thousand people in the Alpine country. Doctors' surgeries, creches, hairdressers, massage and beauty salons will be able to reopen on April 27 as long as the safety of customers and employees is guaranteed, the government said in a statement.

Hospitals will be able to perform all procedures, including non-urgent ones, while DIY stores, garden centres and florists will also be able to open up again. Other shops and schools will be able to return on May 11, if conditions allow, the Federal Council said.

Finally, vocational schools and universities, museums, zoos and libraries are scheduled to reopen on June 8. "In light of epidemiological developments and the recommendations of scientists, the Federal Council has decided to relax measures to protect the population against the new coronavirus from April 27," the government said in a statement.

Some 26,732 people have tested positive for the virus in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, while 1,017 have died.

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