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News > Switzerland

Switzerland Suspends Public Events to Contain Covid-19 Outbreak

  • MultiWatch protest prior to Novartis' general assembly, Basel, Switzerland, Feb. 28, 2020.

    MultiWatch protest prior to Novartis' general assembly, Basel, Switzerland, Feb. 28, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 28 February 2020

The Swiss Federal Council has banned all public events that gather more than 1,000 attendees.

Switzerland’s Federal Council Thursday declared that the country is in a “special situation” and announced measures to contain the progress of COVID-19, a disease that has affected 15 people in this European country.


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"The Federal Council is aware that its decision has important consequences for the population but it will allow its effective protection," the Swiss authorities said and added that the measures will be in effect until March 15.

Among the public health actions are the unprecedented decision to ban any public event with more than 1,000 attendees, which resulted in the immediate cancellation of events such as the Geneva Motor Show, the Basel Carnival or soccer matches.

In Basel, where the most popular Swiss Carnival was to begin next Monday, the cantonal authorities also confirmed the cancellation of this party, including the famous parade of lanterns "Morgenstreich", which in the early hours of Monday should have started five days of festivities.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

For its part, the Swiss football league announced that it will comply with federal orders and suspend all sporting events planned for this weekend.​​​​​​​

The head of the Federal Department of Home Affairs, Alain Berset, said that the bans will not affect Swiss trains, even if they could carry more than a thousand passengers.

While these announcements were being made, Multiwatch activists were running a protest outside the general assembly of Novartis, a pharmaceutical multinational that achieved net benefits of US $ 1.7 billion in 2019.​​​​​​​


Alain Berset
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