The Swiss government on Friday said it was suspending all events in the country involving more than 1,000 participants until March 15 in a bid to stop new coronavirus contagion.
“Large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March,” the government said in a statement after the country registered 15 cases.
“In the case of public or private events at which fewer than 1,000 people would gather, event organisers must carry out a risk assessment in conjunction with the competent cantonal authorities to decide whether or not the event can be held”.
The government said it was “aware that this measure will have a significant impact on public life in Switzerland” but added that “it should prevent or delay the spread of the disease, thus reducing its momentum”.
The federal government said that the scale of the outbreak allowed it to take special powers to order measures that are normally the responsibility of Switzerland’s cantons.
“The cantons are responsible for enforcing the ban,” the statement said.
Health Minister Alain Berset said that similar measures had proved “effective” in other countries.
He told reporters that the number of cases in Switzerland was “not a surprise for us”, adding: “We have to expect an increase in cases in the next few days”.