ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland on Sunday announced tighter restrictions to tackle the second wave of coronavirus hitting the country, including a nationwide obligation to wear masks and a ban on large-scale public gatherings.
Gatherings of more than 15 people in public places will be banned from Monday and masks must be worn in all covered public places, the government said after an extraordinary meeting.
The order to wear masks on public transport was extended to cover train stations, airports, bus and tram stops, the government said, replacing a patchwork of regulations that applied in different parts of Switzerland .
The mask requirement will also apply to shops, banks, churches and cinemas, the government said. He recommended that people work from home if they can.
“The rate of COVID-19 infection has risen at a very fast pace,” Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga told reporters at a news conference in Bern. “Unlike before, it affects all cantons and all age groups.”
“With the onset of winter, it is very important to slow the spread of the virus now. Every day counts. “
Switzerland, a country of 8.6 million people, reported the highest daily number of infections since the start of the COVID-19 crisis on Friday, with 3,105 new cases.
To date, 74,422 people have been infected with the novel coronavirus and 1,823 people have died.
Sommaruga said the government was prepared to impose more drastic restrictions if the news did not work.
No time limit has been set for how long the measures – designed to protect both the population and the economy – will remain in place, she added.
Health Minister Alain Berset has confirmed that the second wave of the coronavirus has now materialized.
“I can say that in the last 10 days the second wave has come… It has come a little earlier and stronger than we thought, but we are prepared for the situation.