GENEVA, March 13 (Xinhua) -- Switzerland decided on Friday to close schools and ban public and private gatherings involving more than 100 people as COVID-19 cases in the country rose over 1,000.
As of 12:30 local time on Friday, the cumulative number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Switzerland has increased to 1,009, according to the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health. A total of 1,125 cases were positive at the initial test, of which 116 cases have yet to be confirmed.
At a press conference in the day, the Swiss Federal Council announced the prohibition of gatherings of more than 100 people across the country until April 30. Teaching and other on-site activities at schools and training institutions are suspended until April 4. Ski resorts across Switzerland are required to close; theaters, cinemas, restaurants and other entertainment venues are also affected.
The Swiss government will allocate 10 billion francs (10.48 billion U.S. dollars) of financial assistance to support Swiss companies to pay their employees during the pandemic.
At the same time, border controls with other European countries have been tightened with a suspension of the single border agreement. The government also requires hospitals and clinics at all levels to immediately report the number of intensive care beds available for patients infected by COVID-19.
So far COVID-19 has caused nine deaths in Switzerland.