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Switzerland set to ban most public events

Switzerland plans to ban all public events apart from church services and legislative meetings and further limit private gatherings after December 12 as it says the COVID-19 situation is deteriorating.

It is starting talks with the country’s 26 cantons over the proposals as it prepares for the new restrictions.

The announcement came as the Federal Office of Public Health reported 92 more deaths on Tuesday, taking the death toll in Switzerland and neighbouring Liechtenstein to 5116.

The number of cases rose by 4262 cases to 358,568, it said.

The government also plans to order restaurants, shops and markets to close at 7pm through January 20 in an effort to restrict the spread of the virus.

It also aims to restrict the number of people who could meet in households to five.

“The number of new infections is high and is rising again, beds in intensive care units are stretched,” the government said.

“The numbers are increasing exponentially – too quickly and too strongly. We want reduce contact and the number of infections,” Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga said.

“If we don’t act quickly enough, the worst of the pandemic is still to come,” she added.

“Then, even more drastic measures will be needed.”

The proposals under consideration by the Swiss government do not extend to outdoor sports, including skiing, Health Minister Alain Berset said.

Switzerland has already announced a raft of measures designed to restrict the virus’ spread in ski areas, including capacity limits on transport, but plans to keep the slopes open unlike neighbours France, Italy and Germany.

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