GENEVA (AP) – The Swiss government announced an immediate ban Friday on all “public and private” events in the country involving more than 1,000 people as a measure to halt the spread of COVID-19.
The measure announced Friday comes will last until at least March 15, officials said.
Among the events that will be effected are the annual Geneva International Motor Show, which was due to take place from March 5-15 and draws tens of thousands of visitors every year. Organizers of the auto show did not provide immediate comment on the Swiss government announcement.
The government said it was â€œaware that this measure will have a significant impact on public life in Switzerland.â€
â€œHowever, the move is expected to provide effective protection to people in Switzerland and to public health,â€ the government said. â€œIt should prevent or delay the spread of the disease in Switzerland, thus reducing its momentum.â€
For events with fewer than 1,000 people, organizers â€œmust carry out a risk assessment in conjunction with the competent cantonal (state) authorities to decide whether or not the event can be held,â€ the government said
Switzerland has reported 15 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus. It borders northern Italy, which has seen the largest cluster of cases in Europe.