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Swiss tighten COVID-19 restrictions as cases rise

·1-min read

ZURICH, Dec 3 (Reuters) - Switzerland announced stronger anti-Covid-19 measures on Friday, as its government battles to contain a surge in coronavirus infections and the arrival of the Omicron variant in the country.

The country will expand the requirement to wear masks and produce a certificate to prove a person is vaccinated or has recovered from the virus, the government said.

Masks will have to be worn indoors wherever a certificate obligation applies, it said.

It also reinforced its message for people to work from home, while allowing events and venues to restrict entry only to people who are vaccinated or recovered.

The measures will go into effect on Monday, Dec. 6 and be effective until Jan. 24.

"The Federal Council currently assesses the situation as very critical," the government said in a statement. "The emergence of the Omicron variant also poses new challenges for pandemic response."

Three cases of the Omicron variant have already been confirmed in Switzerland, according to the Federal Office for Public Health, with persons placed in isolation and their contacts quarantined.

The country of 8.7 million is also battling an increase in infections, with more than 96,000 cases confirmed in the last 14 days. Nov. 29 saw the highest number of infections since the start of the crisis, with 11,340 cases reported.

Switzerland has also tightened entry restrictions, insisting travelers from 23 countries must present negative test results and quarantine for 10 days.

The government said countries would be removed from the quarantine list from Dec. 4, although it would use introduce a stricter testing obligation upon entry into the country.

(Reporting by John Revill Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

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