The restrictive measures taken by the Swiss authorities have had a positive impact on stemming the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic according to a scientific study.
The survey, carried out by the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, found that the gradual introduction of a ban on gatherings of more than five people and a reduced mobility helped contain infections.
“Most of the reduction in transmission is attributable to behavioural changes as opposed to natural immunity,” a paper published in the Swiss Medical Weekly says.
The findings are based on data from 11 of the country’s 26 cantons and more than 1,000 patients in Swiss hospitals between the end of February and March 20.
The scientist also found that the number of new infections with coronavirus began to drop early in March, even before the government imposed sweeping measures, including the closures of schools.
Towards the end of April, just under 4% of the population were infected with the virus, according to the study.
The study authors also recommend a “cautious relaxation of social distancing practices and close monitoring of changes in both the basic and effective reproduction numbers”.
The government began easing some of the restrictions at the end of April. In a third stage to come into force, restrictions of public gatherings are relaxed and borders to some of the neighbouring countries are due to re-open in June.
However, large gatherings remain banned and hygiene rules, including social distancing, are still in place.
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