Warning against complacency over coronavirus risks

Visits to old people's homes and care units are still limited to telephone calls. Keystone/Gian Ehrenzeller

The Swiss government has again urged residents against complacency even as the country’s coronavirus infection rate slows.

This content was published on April 17, 2020 - 17:19

Daniel Koch, the government delegate on the Covid-19 pandemic, warned residents to keep their guard up.

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“The increase in infections is not as steeply as feared, thank God. But we’re a long way from being out of the danger zone. There is a real risk that more people become infected and that we have additional hospitalisations,” Koch told a news conference on Friday.

Currently there are about 300 patients in intensive care, Koch added.

The government on Thursday presented details of a three-phased exit strategy from the sweeping restrictions gradually introduced since the end of February.

Koch reiterated that hygiene and social distancing rules had to remain in place to ensure that the pandemic can be contained.

The government is due to present further details on easing the lockdown, while different sectors of the industry were asked to issue safety concepts notably for hairdressers, beauty salons and other select businesses to reopen.

Small and medium-sized companies as well as the restaurant sector have criticised the government delaying the re-opening until June at the earliest.

The hospitality sector has been particularly hard-hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

In total, more than 167,000 companies representing 1.76 million people, have applied for short-work hour unemployment benefits. That is about 25% of the total workforce in Switzerland.

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