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Switzerland, which is failing to control the Covid-19 epidemic with one of the highest contamination rates in Europe, adopted a package of measures on Friday that included the closing of restaurants, bars and shops at 7 p.m.
Switzerland, who was hailed for overcoming the first wave of the pandemic by Covid-19 without too much worry or confinement, however, does not manage to overcome the second wave, which kills more than a hundred per day.
“We have an incidence rate twice as high as Germany,” warned the president, Simonetta Sommaruga, presenting, Friday, December 11, a package of measures including the closure of restaurants, bars and shops at 19 h. “We are in a critical situation,” with an exponential growth in the epidemic and hospitals close to “their limits”, she added.
Für die Bevölkerung ist in der aktuellen Situation nicht entscheidend, wer etwas anordnet. Entscheidend ist, dass die Ansteckungen wieder sinken. Mit den heute gefällten Entscheiden können wir die Krise besser bewältigen.https://t.co/UmERJKuT2x
– Simonetta Sommaruga (@s_sommaruga) December 11, 2020
The health situation in Switzerland, which has one of the highest contamination rates in Europe, has never been so bad, with some 5,000 new cases per day, against a few hundred during the first wave, and a positivity of the tests which remains at levels much too high.
Bars and restaurants close at 7 p.m.
Faced with this development of the epidemic, the government adopted restrictions on Friday, which are however much less severe than in other European countries despite the gravity of the situation. From December 12 until January 22, restaurants and bars will have to close at 7 p.m.
Cantons whose epidemiological development is favorable may postpone the closing time until 11 p.m., which is currently the case in the French-speaking cantons, detailed the Minister of Health, Alain Berset, to journalists.
Covid-19: record contamination in Switzerland
Shops, markets, museums and libraries, as well as sports and leisure facilities will also have to close at 7 p.m. and on Sundays. And with a few exceptions, such as religious services, all events will be banned, while sports and cultural activities will be permitted for groups of up to five people.
The government, on the other hand, has given up imposing new restrictions on private meetings, maintaining the limit of ten people, including children, and urges not to meet with more than two households in the private setting.
The ski resorts will also remain open but the Minister of Health, Alain Berset, called on Friday at a press conference for European tourists not to come to Switzerland to ski.
A relaxation in the population
During the first wave, during which schools, restaurants and non-essential stores were closed without, however, containment being established, many people had praised the government management of the health crisis, focused on the “individual responsibility” of the population to respect barrier gestures.
The lifting of these restrictions led to a relaxation of the population this summer, at the origin of the second wave. But the epidemic revealed discrepancies between linguistic regions – both in terms of the number of cases and the measures taken, a ditch dubbed “coronagraben” (corona ditch).
Thus, this fall, after having first struck the Latin cantons (French-speaking and Italian-speaking) which took measures, the epidemic fell on the German-speaking cantons, in no hurry to act despite repeated calls from the government which has finally decided to act on Friday. Many believe that the French-speaking cantons, which were loosening the screw in the face of the Covid, are paying for the lack of responsibility of the German-speaking cantons.
The anger of the French-speaking cantons, which issued a joint press release this week expressing their discontent at the management of the crisis, is all the stronger as the Federal Council had, since the start of the second wave, left the hand to the cantons.