South-bound traffic down by 90% for holiday weekend

An empty A2 heading towards the Gotthard tunnel... Keystone / Urs Flueeler

The first of the four days of Easter has seen people in Switzerland largely complying with calls not to travel, particularly to the southern canton of Ticino.

This content was published on April 10, 2020 - 18:13

As the government wished, there has – so far – been no traffic jams recorded at the entrance to the Gotthard, the road tunnel linking the north of the country with canton Ticino in the south.

“People are clearly respecting the calls of authorities not to drive to Ticino, which is particularly affected by the coronavirus pandemic”, a spokeswoman from the Viasuisse traffic monitoring body told the Keystone-SDA news agency.

Ticino police authorities said that the volume of traffic on the A2 motorway was down by 90% compared with normal; police from the canton Uri (at the north side of the Gotthard) reported similar numbers, saying that they counted some 1,800 cars per day heading south this week, compared with the normal of 17,000 for this period.

Uri police have also been stopping an average of 300 cars per day, to remind drivers of the government recommendations and to try to convince them to turn back, if possible.

In Switzerland, Good Friday and Easter Monday being bank holidays, the weekend is a four-day affair, and many head south, often to holiday homes.

This year, however, canton Ticino, which shares around half its border with Italy, is one of the Swiss regions hardest hit by the coronavirus epidemic: after Geneva, it has the highest number of cases per capita, while it has also recorded the highest overall number of fatalities to date.

In other regions of the country, including Bern, Zurich, and Neuchâtel, police reported that while many people were out and about, the majority were adhering to social distancing and maximum group-size rules.

Earlier this week, the government extended restrictive measures to contain Covid-19 by a week, to at least April 26.

And the situation on Good Friday, 2019. Keystone / Alexandra Wey

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