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Switzerland to ease some pandemic curbs from April 27

Restrictions could be conditionally removed in 3 stages until June 8, says cabinet

Peter Kenny   | 16.04.2020
Switzerland to ease some pandemic curbs from April 27

GENEVA

The Swiss government announced Thursday that it will ease some of its lockdown restrictions meant to combat the COVID-19 pandemic in three stages starting April 27.

"On April 27, hospitals will be able to resume all medical procedures, including non-urgent procedures, and outpatient medical practices, hairdressing salons, massage practices, and cosmetic studios will be allowed to reopen," said the Federal Council, the cabinet for the government.

The announcement came the day the department of health announced that the number of virus-linked deaths in Switzerland crossed one thousand -- 1,017 with 26,732 people testing positive.

Data from cantonal sources, however, showed 1,249 deaths, higher than the federal tally.

A canton is an administrative division of a country.Still, overall figures show a drop in daily reported cases and deaths in the country of 8.6 million people.

Switzerland has probably passed its COVID-19 cases peak, said the Federal Office of Public Health, noting that the latest tally was 260 in one day against more than 1,300 at the height of the crisis.

"DIY stores, garden centers, and florists will also be allowed to reopen," said the statement, adding that the protection of the public and staff must be ensured.

Meanwhile, if the situation allows, schools for children of compulsory school age and shops will be able to reopen on May 11.Then on June 8, upper-secondary schools, vocational schools, and higher education institutions, as well as museums, zoos, and libraries, may reopen.

The government had on March 16 ramped up its response to the widening pandemic, ordering the closure of schools, bars, restaurants, sports facilities, and cultural spaces.

Only businesses providing essential goods -- grocery stores, bakeries, and pharmacies -- were allowed to remain open along with banks and post offices.

The measures were to remain in place until April 19 but have been extended by a week until April 26.

The Federal Council said its strategy had several aims.

"First and foremost, it is continuing to protect the health of the Swiss population, particularly of people at, especially high risk.

The easing of lockdown measures will be accompanied by businesses and institutions taking precautionary measures," it said.

It added that employers have a duty to allow staff at exceptionally high risk to work from home, if necessary, by allowing them to perform appropriate alternative tasks.

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