Geneva Locks Down as COVID Surges Through the City at Over 1,000 Cases Per Day.
Restaurants and shop-keepers in Geneva prepared to close in line with new COVID-19 measures on Monday that go well beyond more lenient Swiss rules. Hospitals are close to capacity and have already started airlifting outpatients to less burdened smaller states.
Switzerland’s federal government has charted a different course from neighbours France and Germany in reaction to surging case numbers, seeking to avoid heavy lockdowns. However, Geneva plans to go further as new COVID cases exceed 1,000 per day in a canton of 500,000 – one of the highest rates of infection by population density in Europe. The canton, small state, of Neuchatel, said it will adopt similar measures on Wednesday.
In a sign of the deteriorating situation, the Geneva-based World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday that he had been identified as the contact of a COVID-19 positive person.
Gatherings have been limited to five people from 1800 GMT on Monday although some exceptions apply and, unlike the spring, schools will remain open. “It’s a catastrophe. We don’t have a choice so we do it,” Yoan Lomet, owner of the restaurant l’Elephant dans la Canette said. Many were dining on the streets of Geneva in the sunshine and some were even swimming in the lake. Crowds gathered on shopping streets to make last-minute purchases- not all wore masks.
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