The European country Switzerland unveiled the plans to reopen the borders to all its neighbors except Italy and for allowing larger public gatherings, further easing the limitations on public life as the novel coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak shows signs of decreasing.
The government stated that the public and also the private events up to 300 people and the spontaneous gatherings of around 30 people will be allowing again from June 6.
Move Will Remove Bans on People Over 5
The move would unwind the current ban on meetings of more than 5 people that have shut down much of public life and led to deserted city centers, shops, and roads as people stayed at home. "We can enjoy all the things that are now possible again," Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga told reporters. "With today's decision we can prepare ourselves for a new normality."
The government will also decide on June 24 whether to also lift a ban on events with up to 1,000 people. Larger events will not be possible until the end of August, the government said. The relaxation comes as new cases of COVID-19 in Switzerland have decelerated, rising by 15 on Wednesday here to 30,776. The death toll reached 1,649.
The extraordinary situation that has been in place since March giving Bern heightened powers will be lifted on June 19, Switzerland said, citing favorable epidemiological developments. Switzerland also wants to restore free movement of people with other Schengen zone member countries by July 6, after earlier shutting its borders.
Switzerland Reaffirmed Plans With Other Nations
Switzerland reaffirmed plans with France, Germany, and Austria to lift all travel restrictions among the four countries on June 15 given the positive development of the pandemic. But it told southern neighbor Italy, which has been severely hit by the pandemic, that lifting border controls from June 3, a decision announced by Italy, was "too early".
Switzerland will coordinate further steps with Italy and its other neighbors in weeks ahead, the government said. Switzerland has already reopened shops, grade schools, and beauty salons. The country is also testing a mobile phone app to trace the disease.
(With agency inputs)