Here are all the latest updates and news on coronavirus from CNNMoney Switzerland. We will be updating this page with new content on a regular basis.
Swiss Interior Minister Alain Berset held out little hope Monday that the government would follow Austria’s lead in relaxing some coronavirus containment measures next week.
Asked about the Austrian plan, he said the Federal Council would only consider the situation in Switzerland, noting that Austria has fewer confirmed cases of infections. Berset spoke after visiting health care officials in the southwestern canton of Valais.
The council declared a state of emergency on March 16, closing shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment and leisure facilities until April 19.
Berset has said restrictions on social contact won’t end when infections peak. “It is only when the number of infected people and hospital admissions clearly decreases that we can consider relaxing the rules,” he told SonntagsZeitung.
Stock markets in the U.S. and Europe rallied Monday on data suggesting a slowdown in coronavirus infections in multiple countries. They include Italy and Spain, which are also recording fewer daily deaths than they have in over a week.
On Monday, Austria Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said his government could start loosening some lockdown measures next week to allow small shops, hardware stores, and garden centers to resume business.
Assuming there’s no relapse in the coronavirus count, larger shops will reopen next month, followed by hotels, restaurants, and other services from mid-May, he said at a news conference.
As of Monday, the country of 8.8 million people had reported 12,058 confirmed infections, with 204 deaths. The government says the daily rate of new infections has fallen significantly in recent days.
That compares with 21,652 positive tests and 584 deaths in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, which have a combined population of about 8.6 million.
Also Monday, the Swiss Trade Association proposed eventually limiting the containment measures to groups most at risk so that the country could get back to work. It also urged the introduction of app-based monitoring to identify chains of infection.
Scientists from various European countries, including Switzerland, have been working on a smartphone app to help trace people who have come into contact with those infected with coronavirus. The PEPP-PT includes safeguards on data privacy and use would be voluntary and anonymous.
SWISS START-UPS FACE EXISTENTIAL THREAT FROM COVID-19
In any year, start-ups face an uncertain future. Now the coronavirus pandemic is adding to the strain, as venture capital funding cools.
SWISS DISTILLERIES SWAP OUT DRINKS FOR DISINFECTANT
Swiss distilleries are using high-proof alcohol to make disinfectant after Swiss regulators relaxed the rules, allowing them to distribute to any retail store or individual.
HERD IMMUNITY A NO-GO, SAYS TICINO DOCTOR
With the rising economic toll of containment measures, governments are asking whether the cure isn’t worse than the disease. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, for example, initially wanted to allow COVID-19 to infect so many people that it would fizzle out on its own for lack of a host.
TIPS FOR TACKLING CORONAVIRUS ANXIETY
Feeling anxious about your health, your business or your family during the coronavirus crisis? Marta Ra, CEO of Paracelsus Recovery, offers advice on how to cope with stress and shares five tips to keep you mentally healthy.
SWISS COMPANY DEVELOPS CORONAVIRUS TREATMENT—FOR MASKS
Swiss specialty chemicals company HeiQ has developed a treatment to make face masks more resistant to coronavirus. The ETH spin-off plans to treat 500 million masks with the antiviral product over the next four to eight weeks, says CEO Carlo Centonze.
SNB PAYS SWISS BANKS TO LEND
The SNB has set up a refinancing facility to give banks access to liquidity needed to expand lending rapidly and on a large scale, President Thomas Jordan said. He said there is no upper limit on the amounts available and drawdowns can be made at any time. The interest rate will be minus 0.75, same as the SNB policy rate.
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS COULD CHANGE GIG-WORKING FOREVER
Coronavirus lockdowns have stoked demand for some gig workers like delivery drivers and supermarket assistants. For others, though, the crisis has meant the loss of employment, with few, if any, social protections.
ANTIBODY TESTING MAY BE KEY TO GETTING THE HEALTHY BACK TO WORK
Governments are pumping money into their economies to limit the damage from virus shutdowns when they should be trying to get the healthy back to work safely.
COUNTING THE COST OF CORONAVIRUS
When it comes to putting a figure on the economic impact of the shutdown in Switzerland, Avenir Suisse says it isn’t straightforward. It says its estimates are conservative and warns of impending inflation issues post-crisis.
NO, I DON’T NEED XANAX—I NEED A COVID-19 TEST
Some doctors in Switzerland are not testing everyone with COVID-19 symptoms, and when they do, it can come at a high cost—both to patients' wallets and their personal safety. A personal report.
COVID-19 AND THE DANGER OF COMPLACENCY
Mattia De Angelis, 29, urges people not to underestimate the ruthlessness of coronavirus. “They need to take all of this very seriously,” he said via Skype from Cavalese Hospital in northern Italy, where he has been battling COVID-19-induced pneumonia for almost 10 days.
SENSIRION WORKING FLAT OUT AS DEMAND SOARS FOR VENTILATOR SENSORS
Demand for sensors in ventilators has grown three to six times during the coronavirus crisis, says Sensirion CEO Marc von Waldkirch.
ROCHE CALLS ON GOVERNMENTS TO HELP ENSURE SUPPLY OF MEDICINE DURING PANDEMIC
Roche said it is working “around the clock” to increase availability of its COVID-19 tests and is speeding up production of Actemra, a drug that could be used to treat patients with coronavirus. Actemra is currently in a Phase 3 study to test its safety and efficacy in hospitalized adult patients with pneumonia caused by the virus.
DECIDING WHO MAY LIVE AND WHO MAY DIE
In a country with just 1,000 beds equipped with ventilators, Swiss doctors may soon be confronted with the kind of decisions that their colleagues in Italy have been facing: how to prioritize patient care if there’s a shortage of resources.
GENEVA AIRPORT BRACES FOR TURBULENT TIMES
EasyJet will join other airlines in grounding most of its fleet this week, impacting airports including Geneva’s, where the UK budget airline is the biggest operator.
WANTED: BLOOD FROM CORONAVIRUS SURVIVORS
The world is awaiting a vaccine against coronavirus but even when it arrives, not everyone will benefit. Some people with weak immune systems, such as the elderly and those with HIV, may not be eligible.
SWISS AID DEAL “NO SUPER BAZOOKA” BUT RIGHT MOVE, SAYS ECONOMIESUISSE
The Swiss government announced an additional CHF 32 billion in aid on Friday, mostly targeted at small- to medium-sized businesses hit by the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
FIVE TIPS FOR CORONAVIRUS HOMESCHOOLING
With schools closed all over the globe, many parents have found themselves in the unexpected and perhaps uneasy situation of having to supervise their children’s schoolwork.
BARGAIN HUNTING IN A BEAR MARKET
Looking for bargains in a bear market? Swisspartners CIO Peter Ahluwalia says some great deals await the brave of heart.
SNB TO STEP UP CURRENCY INTERVENTIONS
The Swiss National Bank refused to join the global rate-cutting frenzy today, signaling that it will step up currency interventions to stem the rise of the franc against the euro.
TICINO HOSPITALS BRACE FOR SURGE IN PATIENTS
Doctors near the Swiss border with Italy started seeing the first coronavirus patients in early March and the number has been rising ever since.
SMALL BUSINESSES SWITCH TO SURVIVAL MODE AMID CORONAVIRUS
Switzerland went into lockdown less than a week ago but for many small businesses that’s already way too long. Panic is setting in as they watch their revenue dry up and their cash pot dwindle.
CORONAVIRUS: CLOSED RESTAURANTS, OPEN KITCHENS
Restaurants may be closed, but kitchens are still open for business. Here’s how Switzerland’s small businesses are trying to survive the coronavirus shutdown.
CORONAVIRUS COULD COST THE WORLD 25 MILLION JOBS, UN SAYS
The economic crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic could increase global unemployment by as much as 25 million people, the International Labor Organization warns.
SWISS GOVERNMENT URGED TO SET UP BAILOUT FUND
The Swiss government should set up a CHF 100 billion fund—about 15 percent of GDP—to help businesses survive the coronavirus crisis, two prominent economists say.
THREE ASIAN CITIES SHOW EUROPE HOW TO FIGHT CORONAVIRUS
China’s draconian measures for controlling the coronavirus outbreak on the mainland cannot be easily replicated by nations in the rest of the world, which don’t have the same top-down power structure. But successful action taken in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan can serve as better examples, says Steven Jiang, a CNN senior producer based in Beijing.
SWITZERLAND IN DESPERATE RACE TO STAY AHEAD OF CORONAVIRUS
Switzerland is in a desperate race against time as the number of new coronavirus infections continues to rise rapidly. Officials are imploring people to observe restrictions on social contact to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed. Daniel Koch, head of the federal health office, says the country may have just a few more days to get the situation under control.
COURIERS TO THE RESCUE
A Swiss tech start-up is rejiggering its model to help communities during the coronavirus lockdown.
THE CORONAVIRUS BLUES
The coronavirus crisis is serving as a source of e inspiration for musicians and governments seeking to educate people about the disease and to help people cope with confinement.
SWITZERLAND NEEDS MORE WIDESPREAD CORONAVIRUS TESTING, SAYS EPFL’S SALATHÉ
Switzerland should have started testing more liberally a long time ago to slow the spread of the coronavirus, says Marcel Salathé, an associate professor at EPFL and an expert in digital epidemiology.
WITH EURO 2020 NOW CANCELED, WILL THE SUMMER OLYMPIC GAMES BE NEXT?
UEFA announced today that is postponing Euro 2020 because of the coronavirus crisis. The quadrennial European football championships were originally supposed to take place from June 12 to July 12 across 12 countries to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the tournament.
EUROPE RESORTS TO UNPRECEDENTED RESTRICTIONS ON PUBLIC LIFE
Europe hunkered down Tuesday, with borders, schools, and businesses closed across the region and a police lockdown underway in the worst-hit countries.
NEIGHBORS MOBILIZE AGAINST CORONAVIRUS
Communities are using social media to organize grocery shopping or help with other basic needs for people confined to their homes. Hilf-jetzt.ch, a platform set up on Friday, lists 300 groups that offer assistance to those coping with the coronavirus outbreak.
ROCHE CEO ON THE ROLLOUT OF ITS NEW COVID-19 TESTS
The U.S. has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for a new coronavirus test that reduces the result time from days to mere hours. Developed by Roche, it is expected to speed up the ability to test patients by tenfold.
BUSINESS STRATEGIES FOR COPING WITH COVID-19
Companies all over the globe are struggling to cope with the disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis. Beatrix Morath, managing director of AlixPartners in Switzerland, recommends these tools and strategies to help lessen the impact on businesses.
CHINESE EXPATS LOOK TO HOMELAND AS ESCAPE FROM EUROPE’S CORONAVIRUS CRISIS
Sally Yan, who has lived in Switzerland for 13 years, left her home in Zurich over the weekend to wait out the coronavirus pandemic in what she believes to be a safer location: Shanghai.
CHF 10 BILLION FOR SWISS BUSINESSES HIT BY CORONAVIRUS
The Swiss government announced CHF 10 billion in aid for businesses and tightened borders as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues to surge.
OUTLOOK DARKENS FOR TRAVEL INDUSTRY
Tourasia and Diethelm Travel, a destination management company in Southeast Asia, saw business decline by 60 percent in February—and March will be worse, says CEO Stephan Roemer.
GLOBAL AIRLINES CALL ON GOVERNMENTS FOR REGULATORY, FINANCIAL AID
The airline industry is facing “one of the most severe crises” in 20 years, warned Alexandre de Juniac, CEO of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
CORONAVIRUS CAUSES SWISS WATCHMAKERS MORE GRIEF
For Swiss watchmakers, the coronavirus crisis in China has been a double whammy. Not only has it hit sales in a major market, but it has also disrupted supplies of components, says Oliviero Pesenti, director of Erbas.
TIPS FOR THE CONSCIENTIOUS TELECOMMUTER
Not everyone enjoys working from home. Here are five tips on how to make the best of your home office during the coronavirus crisis.
HOW GOVERNMENTS CAN AVERT A CORONAVIRUS CASH CRUNCH
Policymakers need to come up with creative solutions to help businesses survive a potential credit crunch as the coronavirus upends the global economy, says Esty Dwek, head of global market strategy at Natixis Investment Managers.
CORONAVIRUS FUELS RECORD SALES OF COMPUTER SCREENS
Screens and other office supplies are in great demand these days as the coronavirus forces people to work from home. Digitec Galaxus is among retailers who say they are seeing record-breaking sales of some items.
START-UPS STRUGGLE TO SURVIVE CORONAVIRUS
Cash-strapped start-ups that manage to stay afloat in the coming months may struggle to survive the economic aftermath of the coronavirus, says Jordi Montserrat, co-founder of Venturelab, a group that supports entrepreneurs in Switzerland.
CORONAVIRUS IS FIRST BIG TEST FOR BITCOIN
Forget gold and equity markets, Bitcoin stands in its own category, says Crypto Finance CEO Jan Brzezek. He argues that Bitcoin hasn’t reached the status of a safe haven—yet.
WILL HOTEL INDUSTRY BE GUTTED BY CORONAVIRUS?
Hotels are especially exposed to the effects of coronavirus, from the spate of recent cancellations to travelers not even booking because of the current uncertainty.
WHY YOU CAN’T TRUST CORONAVIRUS COUNTS
At least 476 people have tested posted for coronavirus in Switzerland, but that number isn’t a reliable measure of the outbreak.
SWISS BORDER OPEN FOR BUSINESS
The 68,000 Italians employed in Switzerland are vital to the economy, says the president of AITI, the industry association of Ticino, which explains why the Swiss border remains open despite the lockdown in neighboring Italy.
CORONAVIRUS SHUTS DOWN ITALY BUT SWISS BORDER REMAINS OPEN
Despite a nationwide shutdown in Italy, cross-border workers are still welcome in Switzerland. CNNMoney Switzerland reports from Chiasso as the number of cases of the virus continues to grow.
WORLD IS LOSING BATTLE TO CONTAIN CORONAVIRUS, ETH PROFESSOR SAYS
Countries including Switzerland are abandoning efforts to keep a precise count of coronavirus cases and are focusing instead on helping hospitals cope with patient overload, says Michael Hengartner, president of the board at Swiss university ETH.
SOCIAL DISTANCING AT THE SWISS STOCK EXCHANGE
The Swiss stock exchange operator today joined a growing number of financial institutions that are instructing some employees to work from home or other locations as the financial industry braces for disruption from the rapidly spreading coronavirus.
SWAPPING HANDSHAKES FOR ELBOW BUMPS
As authorities around the world scramble to contain the coronavirus, people are facing a new dilemma: how to greet someone without a handshake. Here are five suggestions.
READY, SET, GO? THE LATEST ON TOKYO 2020
Is Japan ready to host the Olympic Games and deal with the coronavirus? CNN International correspondent Blake Essig reports from Japan’s newly-built national stadium in Tokyo.
IOC TAKING WAIT-AND-SEE APPROACH TO CORONAVIRUS
Coronavirus was a major topic at this week’s meeting of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board in Lausanne. But President Thomas Bach says the words “cancellation” and “postponement” never came up.
STUCK AT HOME? THE SWISS GOVERNMENT’S EMERGENCY KIT
Do you know what you need to survive a crisis? If you don’t, fear not—the Swiss government has you covered. Its decades-old list includes bottled water, rice, batteries, and yes, chocolate and cheese.
TECHNOLOGY POWERS UNPRECEDENTED SCIENTIFIC COLLABORATION AGAINST VIRUS
Advances in technology are coming together during the coronavirus epidemic to help scientists break new ground at an unprecedented rate.
FEELING ILL? DON’T RUSH TO THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE!
The spread of coronavirus is pushing people to seek medical advice—by phone. The Swiss government’s coronavirus hotline, run by Basel-based Medgate, has logged more 20,000 calls over the past five weeks.
SNB IN A TIGHT SPOT AFTER FED’S CORONAVIRUS CUT
The Swiss National Bank will probably participate in any coordinated action by central banks to shore up the global economy in response to the coronavirus epidemic, the former deputy governor of Ireland’s central bank said Tuesday.
CORONA-BUSTER: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN HAND SANITIZER
Coronavirus fears have sent the demand for hand sanitizers soaring. Many pharmacies and online shops in Switzerland are sold out. But making your own hand disinfectant isn’t hard.
CORONAVIRUS: THE RISK OF NOT TRAVELING
Millions of jobs in Europe rely on the tourism industry, which has been rocked by the coronavirus. “We’re almost getting to the stage where travelers have something of a moral duty to continue to travel,” says travel writer Simon Calder.
SWISS TOURISM STILL OPTIMISTIC DESPITE CORONAVIRUS
Thousands of hotel rooms are empty following the cancellation of major Swiss events. Cafés, bars, and restaurants are seeing fewer customers. Adrien Genier, CEO of Geneva Tourism & Conventions Foundation, says that the industry is still optimistic the situation will turn around.
VIRUS LEADS TO WORLDWIDE EXPERIMENT IN WORKING FROM HOME
The idea that employees need to be present in the office remains persistent despite huge leaps in technology since the SARS outbreak in 2003, when there were only laptops and basic mobile phones. But that may be about to change as the coronavirus forces tens of millions of people in China and beyond to work from home.
WITH BASELWORLD ON HOLD, NOW BEGINS THE BATTLE OF THE DATES
On the heels of the Geneva Motor Show being cancelled, the verdict is also in for Baselworld 2020: The watch and jewelry exhibition is officially postponed until the end of January 2021. The question now is how rival fair Watches and Wonders Geneva will respond to the move, as the two expos had previously agreed to sync up their dates to boost attendance.
CARMAKERS MAY GET COLD FEET IN FUTURE AFTER MOTOR SHOW CANCELED
Automakers may reconsider the value of big, expensive car shows after the Geneva Motor Show was cancelled due to coronavirus fears, says Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer at CNN Business.
GENEVA MOTOR SHOW, BASELWORLD AXED AS SWITZERLAND BANS BIG GATHERINGS
The Geneva Motor Show was cancelled Friday due to coronavirus fears, dealing a fresh blow to an industry already crippled by the outbreak in China. Baselworld, one of the world’s largest watch fairs, was also called off after the Swiss government announced a ban on public and private gatherings involving more than 1,000 people. The measure, valid through March 15, takes effect immediately.
SIEMENS SEES CORONAVIRUS HITTING ITS BOTTOM LINE
The German industrial giant Siemens expects the coronavirus epidemic to dent its financial performance this year, the head of its Swiss business said in an interview with CNNMoney.
SWISS MULTINATIONALS MOUNT DEFENSE AGAINST CORONAVIRUS
Many Swiss multinationals have adopted policies to prevent workers in Asia from contracting or spreading the coronavirus. Now they are applying these restrictions closer to home as the disease gains ground in Europe.
CORONAVIRUS: HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Preventing coronavirus is all about personal hygiene. Here the World Health Organization explains how you can minimize exposure and help protect others around you.
WORRIED ABOUT YOUR CROSS-BORDER COLLEAGUE?
About 6.5 percent of workers in Switzerland commute from neighboring countries, including Italy, raising concerns they could bring the coronavirus with them. Economiesuisse says such fears are exaggerated, adding that many Swiss businesses can be run from home if need be.
CARNIVAL REVELERS MOCK VIRUS THREAT
The Venice Carnival has been cut short due to the outbreak of coronavirus, but that isn’t stopping revelers in Lucerne from celebrating their biggest party of the year.
HOW TICINO IS DEALING WITH VIRUS THREAT
Hours before Switzerland confirmed its first case of coronavirus, the city of Lugano was already on edge.
SCHOOL’S OUT IN CHINA, BUT EDUCATION STILL COMES FIRST
A deadly epidemic is still no excuse to slack off. Demand for online education has surged in China as the coronavirus confines children to their homes.
CORONAVIRUS CATCHES UP WITH SWITZERLAND
A 70-year-old man from Ticino was diagnosed with the virus on Tuesday, about a week after he returned from a trip to northern Italy, health officials said.
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