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Switzerland declares "extraordinary situation" to fight COVID-19

(Xinhua)    09:50, March 17, 2020

GENEVA, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Swiss government on Monday declared an "extraordinary situation" in the country, while introducing more measures such as entry bans at its borders.

At a press conference held by the Federal Council at Bern, Simonetta Sommaruga, president of the Swiss Confederation, declared an "extraordinary situation" in the country -- the highest level in terms of the Epidemics Act. All shops, markets, restaurants, bars, entertainment and leisure facilities in the country will be closed until April 19, with only medical institutions and food stores allowed to be open.

The government also decided to "introduce checks at the borders with Germany, Austria and France as of midnight tonight, and impose entry bans, albeit with exceptions," according to a press release.

Last week, Switzerland had already imposed border controls on people entering from Italy. Entry from its four large neighbors is therefore only possible for Swiss citizens, people holding a residence permit for Switzerland and people who have to enter for work-related reasons.

Meanwhile, Switzerland tends to mobilize up to 8,000 soldiers nationwide to support health care, logistics, security and other services during the epidemic.

According to data released on Monday by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, a total of 1,680 confirmed cases and 14 deaths have been reported in the country. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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