Swiss health authorities unveil new campaign to tackle coronavirus


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Switzerland has tweaked its health guidelines to counter the spread of the coronavirus, as the country gradually returns to work and school.

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Still in place are recommendations to wash hands frequently and thoroughly, skip handshakes, and cough or sneeze only into a tissue or the crook of an elbow.

In situations where maintaining social distance is not possible, the Federal Office of Public Health recommends the use of protective face masks. It has issued a video on how to handle them correctly.

That recommendation was echoed by the Swiss Federal Railways and the Postal Bus service, which jointly unveiled their public transport safety concept on Thursday. They recommend that customers wear face masks if they cannot maintain a distance of two metres on buses, trams and trains.

“Travel only when necessary, avoid rush hour, observe distance rules,” said Federal Railways boss Vincent Ducrot during a video media conference.

The government also recommends continuing to work from home when possible. Some shops and businesses re-opened on April 27 in a first phase of easing of lockdown measures. Compulsory schools along with all shops, markets and restaurants are set to re-open on May 11.

The now pink “Here’s how to protect ourselves” campaign material can be found on the public health office website, www.ofsp-coronavirus.ch.

The new campaign coincides with a slight uptick in the number of coronavirus cases registered across Switzerland.

Some 180 new cases were reported on Thursday, compared to 140 on Wednesday, 100 on Tuesday and 103 on Monday. The health authorities caution the figures can fluctuate dramatically.

On average, there are 345 cases per 100,000 residents, according to the latest official tally.

Switzerland has carried out 266,222 tests for the virus as of Thursday, of which 13% came out positive. Geneva, Ticino, Vaud, Basel City and Valais are the worst hit cantons.



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