Lockdown

dpa/GNA – Switzerland plans to reopen shops, museums, zoos and amusement parks at the start of March as a first step out of its current lockdown mode, the government announced on Wednesday in Bern.

“We are starting from a positive situation,” Health Minister Alain Berset told a press conference as he announced the plan, which is to be formally approved next week.

The number of daily new coronavirus infections, hospital admissions and related deaths have fallen in recent weeks.

The number of Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks per 100,000 inhabitants stands at 187, above neighbouring Germany, but below the incidence rates in France and Italy.

In a second step, cultural and sports events could restart with limited participation, the government said.

Restaurants will stay closed, and employers will remain under orders to allow remote work as much as possible.

Switzerland suffered a record budget deficit of 15.8 billion Swiss francs (16.6 billion dollars) last year, as the pandemic resulted in lower tax income and hefty subsidy spending to ease the fallout of the pandemic, the government said.

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