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Switzerland plans to lift parts of its COVID-19 restrictions from March 1

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-02-18 07:04

People enjoy the sunny winter weather while sitting on the banks of Lake Zurich, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Zurich, Switzerland February 5, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

GENEVA - The Federal Council of Switzerland announced Wednesday that it plans to gradually lift COVID-19 restrictions starting from March 1.

The Swiss government said at a press conference Wednesday that at the first stage of its exit strategy, it proposed to open shops, sport and leisure facilities and to allow outdoor events of up to 15 people from March 1.

However, restaurants, cafes, cinemas and theaters in the country will remain closed and a work-from-home policy will be maintained until further notice.

The Swiss government clarified that only "activities that carry a low risk of infection will be allowed first".

According to the Swiss government, the number of new infections, hospital admissions and deaths has continued to fall in recent weeks, but the epidemiological situation remains uncertain as new variants of the virus continue to spread in the country and their percentage double every 10 to 14 days.

"We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there is still a long way to go," said Swiss President Guy Parmelin.

The re-opening plans will be submitted to the country's 26 cantons for discussion and then the Swiss federal government will make a final decision later on Feb. 24, the Swiss Federal Council said.

Restaurants and cafes in Switzerland had been closed since the end of December 2020 as the numbers of daily infections were considered high at that time. On Jan. 13 of this year, the Swiss Federal Council announced additional lockdown measures including the closure of all non-essential shops.

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