ZURICH, Switzerland (CelebrityAccess) — The government of Switzerland has taken the dramatic step of banning all large scale public gatherings in response to a growing number of cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in the country.
Following a special meeting of the Swiss Federal Council on Friday, the government announced that public events involving more than 1000 people. The ban came into effect immediately and will remain in effect until at least March 15th.
For events with expected attendance of less than 1,000, the government will require organizers to carry out a risk assessment with qualified local officials to determine if the event can proceed.
“The Federal Council is aware that this measure will have a significant impact on public life in Switzerland. However, the move is expected to provide effective protection to people in Switzerland and to public health. It should prevent or delay the spread of the disease in Switzerland, thus reducing its momentum,” a statement from the Federal Council said.
The Swiss government made the decision to ban public events as the number of reported cases of COVID-19 climbed to at least 14 on Friday with more than 100 people under quarantine, according to the Swiss media.
The cancellation comes amid carnival season, which draws thousands of tourists to the small European nation. Events affected by cancellations include the Geneva International Motor Show, which takes place in March, and attracts about 500,000 visitors annually.
Carnival events in Ticino, which was where the first COVID-19 case in Switzerland was identified, as well as Switzerland’s largest sporting event, Engadin Ski Marathon, which draws about 14,000 athletes annually.
Artists with concerts scheduled for Switzerland in early March include Maceo Parker, Stormzy, SIBER, Radio Havana, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Wolf Parade, Napalm Death, Misery Index, Halsey, Princess Nokia, and, Starset among others.