Pressure growing for confinement exit strategy

It is only when the rate of infections and deaths is clearly falling that restrictions can be eased, says health minister Alain Berset. Keystone

Pressure to gradually reopen the economy is increasing, but Swiss Interior Minister Alain Berset has told a Sunday newspaper a rapid end to coronavirus restrictions is not realistic. 

This content was published on April 5, 2020 - 12:18

In an interview with the SonntagsZeitung, Berset warned that if public adherence to the restrictions over Easter fell, the government might even tighten them and impose a curfew. 

He said the government would discuss on Wednesday scenarios for ending confinement but a decision was not yet expected. “It is only when the number of infected people and admissions to hospital are clearly falling that we will be able to consider softening the rules,” he told the paper. 

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However, there is growing pressure to gradually reopen the economy. In an interview with the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper, Petra Gössi, head of the centre-right Radical Liberal Party, calls for the reopening of all shops that can comply with government safety measures, i.e. two-metre distancing between all persons in the shop and all hygiene regulations. "If we don't do this, we risk unnecessarily undermining public understanding of the government measures," she told the paper. 

Faced with the devastating effects of the pandemic on employment, the heads of the Swiss employers' association Swissmem and the Swiss Trade Union Federation (USS) are both calling for the government to present exit scenarios, writes the SonntagsZeitung. "The Federal Council must now develop a strategy in which economic and social risks also play a role," USS President Pierre-Yves Maillard told the paper.   

And the Social Democrat Party is calling notably for a cap on health insurance premiums to relieve household budgets, its parliamentary group chairman Roger Nordmann told the SonntagsBlick newspaper.


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