Switzerland should tighten restrictions following a recent spike in coronavirus cases to prevent the need for much harsher lockdown measures in future, the new head of the country’s coronavirus taskforce has said.
The country has seen the number of new cases of Covid-19 surge to more than 200 a day recently after an average of 35 per day in June.
Martin Ackermann, who heads the body that provides scientific advice to the Swiss government, said the country was on the brink of a big increase in infections and had little room to manoeuvre.
“We should intervene early to prevent exponential growth,” he told newspaper SonntagsZeitung.
“Otherwise there’s a risk of drastic and expensive restrictions. This must be prevented under all circumstances.”
Switzerland has lifted a partial lockdown imposed in March, when shops, bars and restaurants were ordered to close to prevent the spread of the virus which has infected 35,000 people and killed 1,707 in the country of 8.6 million people.
Mr Ackermann, who took over as head of the taskforce on Saturday, said he supported making face masks mandatory indoors.
The coverings are currently only compulsory on public transport and at political demonstrations.
The government has relaxed restrictions on gatherings, although it still bans events of more than 1,000 people.
The size of public gatherings should be limited again, said Mr Ackermann, who is an expert in microbiology.