GENEVA, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Swiss Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis on Tuesday called on neighboring countries and the European Union (EU) to proceed in a coordinated manner to ease COVID-19 restrictions as quickly as possible.
Speaking via video-conference with foreign ministers of Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein and Luxembourg, Cassis, also head of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, stressed that a crisis of this magnitude affecting all of Europe can only be tackled together.
He noted that in recent weeks, Switzerland has taken in patients from French hospitals and sent personal protective equipment to Italy. Switzerland has also benefited from its close integration in EU crisis management efforts and regular bilateral consultations with EU states.
"This cooperation has proven to be a key asset in managing the crisis," he said.
Switzerland saw an increase of 119 coronavirus cases on Tuesday, the lowest number during the past 40 days.
According to the figures released by the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH), the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 now in the country has reached 28,063, and the death toll at 1,187.
With around 327 infected cases per 100,000 residents, Switzerland is still one of the most affected countries in Europe.
As the scheduled date for easing measures approaches, the FOPH said it is planning to launch the coronavirus tracing APP on May 11, in order to grasp and interrupt the transmission chains and help curb the epidemic.
Switzerland has announced a three-phase exit strategy from the current COVID-19 containment measures starting on April 27. Enditem