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18 Mar 2020 | 06:02 AM UTC

Switzerland: Nationwide restrictive measures implemented due to COVID-19 March 16 /update 4

Government implements nationwide restrictive measures due to COVID-19 outbreak March 16; abide by authority directives

entry/exit
health
transportation
CHE

Event

On Monday, March 16, Switzerland announced the closure of all schools, shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment facilities from Tuesday, March 17, to Sunday, April 19. All public and private events are also prohibited. The Federal Council introduced checkpoints on the borders with France, Germany, Austria, and France while 8000 soldiers have been deployed to provide security and logistics at hospitals. Entry to Switzerland from the four aforementioned countries is now only possible for Swiss citizens, persons holding a residence permit for Switzerland, and persons who have to enter Switzerland for work-related reasons.

As of Wednesday, March 11, the Swiss government closed nine border crossings with Italy to control the influx of workers from the country. This includes the border crossings at Pedrinate, Ponte Faloppia, Novazzano Marcetto, San Pitero di Stabio, Ligornetto Cantorn, Arzo, Ponte Cremenaga, Cassinone, and Indemini.

As of Wednesday, March 19, there are 2700 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide along with 27 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia. 

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:  

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.