Swiss ski resorts can stay open for now: health minister

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss ski resorts can stay open for now as long as they have strict safety measures in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Health Minister Alain Berset said on Thursday. Neighbours France, Italy, Austria and Germany have all ordered even the high-altitude lifts that could be running this early in the winter to remain closed in the hope that all resorts can benefit at peak-season, if and when the infection rate slows

Reuters November 27, 2020 00:12:42 IST
Swiss ski resorts can stay open for now: health minister

Swiss ski resorts can stay open for now health minister

ZURICH (Reuters) - Swiss ski resorts can stay open for now as long as they have strict safety measures in place to limit the spread of the coronavirus, Health Minister Alain Berset said on Thursday.

Neighbours France, Italy, Austria and Germany have all ordered even the high-altitude lifts that could be running this early in the winter to remain closed in the hope that all resorts can benefit at peak-season, if and when the infection rate slows.

"In Switzerland the situation is much easier, one can still ski, that was always the goal. Obviously with respect for very strict measures, we have to have protection plans and things must be clear," Berset told a news conference in Bern.

He left the door open to change policy should conditions change by the year's end, when the two-week holiday period lures many winter sports enthusiasts to the slopes.

"The situation remains very serious and very unstable...and we have not decided yet how it will go in future," Berset said, adding Bern was in close contact with its neighbours and Swiss cantons.

He acknowledged tensions would arise if Swiss resorts were the only ones open. "We will have to discuss this with the cantons but we are a sovereign country and can decide ourselves what the facts are on our territory," he added.

Switzerland has adopted a "middle path" to curb the pandemic that has infected more than 300,000 and killed 4,109 here, leaving the nation largely open for business while urging people to keep their distance and embrace proper hygiene.

Berset said Switzerland could get the first, limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of January if all went well. It would not force people to get vaccines, which it plans to distribute to patients free of charge.

Switzerland has signed vaccine contracts with Moderna and AstraZeneca and reserved doses from Pfizer while finalising a contract.

(Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Stephanie Nebehay and Barbara Lewis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.