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Switzerland tightens measures to fight second wave COVID-19

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ZURICH (Reuters) – Switzerland announced tougher restrictions Sunday to tackle the second wave of coronavirus hitting the country, including a nationwide obligation to wear masks and ban large-scale public gatherings.

Photography Photography: Employees work at the Contact Tracking Center of the Canton of Zurich in Pfaeffikon, Switzerland, October 12, 2020. REUTERS / Arnd Wiegmann

Gatherings of more than 15 people in public places will be banned from Monday and masks should be worn in all closed public places, the government announced after an emergency meeting.

An order to wear masks on public transport has been extended to cover train stations, airports, bus and tram stations, the government said, replacing a rule regulation that applied across different regions of the Switzlands.

The obligation to wear a mask will also apply to shops, banks, churches and cinemas, the government said. He recommended that people work from home if they can.

The rate of COVID-19 infection has risen at a very rapid rate, Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga told reporters at a news conference in Bern. Unlike before, it is affecting all cantons and all age groups.

With the arrival of winter it is very important to slow down the spread of the virus now. Every day matters.

Switzerland, a country of 8.6 million, reported the highest daily number of infections since the start of the COVID-19 crisis on Friday, with 3,105 new cases.

So far 74,422 people have been infected with the new coronavirus and 1,823 people have died.

Sommaruga said the government was prepared to impose more drastic restrictions if the new ones did not work.

No timeline has been set for how long measures – designed to protect the population and the economy – will remain in place, she added.

Health Minister Alain Berset confirmed that the second wave of the coronavirus had materialized.

I can say that during the last 10 days, the second wave is here … It has come earlier and stronger than we thought, but we are prepared for the situation.

Reporting by John Revill; Edited by Alexandra Hudson

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