Swiss postpone plans to lift COVID-19 restrictions

ZURICH, March 19 (Reuters) - Switzerland has postponed plans to relax its COVID-19 restrictions, the government said on Friday, citing an increasing number of coronavirus cases and insufficient progress on vaccinations.

Switzerland had originally planned to allow outdoor events like football matches and concerts with up audiences of up 150 from Monday, but has opted for a more cautious as neighbouring France and Germany also put the brakes on reopening.

“The risk of an uncontrolled increase in the number of cases is currently too great for further openings, after the number of infections has been increasing again since the end of February,” the government said on Friday.

“In addition, too few people have yet been vaccinated to prevent a sharp rise in hospitalizations,” it added.

The number of coronavirus cases in Switzerland and neighbouring Liechtenstein has risen in recent days, hitting 1,750 on Thursday, well above the seven-day average which stood at 1,285 cases. (Reporting by John Revill)