Switzerland races to avoid becoming the next Italy in coronavirus crisis

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Switzerland is in a desperate race against time as the number of new coronavirus infections continues to rise rapidly. The government on Wednesday reported 2,772 confirmed cases of the disease, an increase of more than 500 from Tuesday. The death toll climbed to 21 from 14. 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 10 days to get the situation under control. Switzerland is in a lockdown, with shops, restaurants, sports centers, and schools all closed, and there are bans on public and private gatherings. It has mobilized up to 8,000 military members to assist civil authorities and medical personnel. But concerns are growing that the country may follow the same course as Italy, where the health care system is on the verge of collapse. The situation across the region “does not look very accommodating,” Vontobel analysts said in a note Wednesday.