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Appeal Government warns not to underestimate coronavirus

Sign at entrance to a shop to respect social distancing rules

Signs warning shoppers to keep a distance are difficult to ignore in Switzerland these days. 

(Keystone /Peter Klaunzer)

President Simonetta Sommaruga has appealed to the population to keep respecting social distancing and hygiene rules as increase in infection cases stagnates.

She thanked notably farmers providing fresh vegetable to customers via house deliveries four weeks into a ban on public markets as part of government measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.

For his part, Interior Minister Alain Berset has called on citizens to follow the government regulations strictly to avoid a resurgence of Covid-19 cases.

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“There’s a risk that infections will spread again,” he told several newspapers of the CH-Media publishing group on Saturday. “There are no shortcuts. We have to go the whole way,” he is quoted as saying.

Daniel Koch, the government’s delegate on the Covid-19 pandemic, added that a first peak had been reached.

“The trend is going in the right direction for the moment. But a resurgence of cases can never be excluded,” he told a news conference on Saturday.

Over the past few days, Switzerland has recorded between 500 and 700 new cases daily.

Koch said it was impossible to predict in detail how much the current restrictions can be relaxed without triggering a second wave of infections. He said it was important to remain flexible to react promptly.

The government is due to announce its exit scenario from the anti-Covid-19 measures next Thursday.

As part of the staggered lifting of the curbs, the government is also considering targeted measures including large-scale testing and voluntary contact tracing programmes.

Berset reiterated that there is not enough scientific evidence that the wearing of face masks in public would help reduce the number of infections decisively.

“Of course, everybody is free to wear a mask if he or she wants to do so,” he said.

swissinfo.ch/urs

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