Swiss, Italians find deal to keep trains running in pandemic

GENEVA (AP) — Authorities in Switzerland and Italy say they’ve reached a last-moment deal to keep trains running between the two countries, after concerns over coronavirus containment threatened to almost entirely curtail cross-border rail traffic.

The Swiss railway operator said on Thursday — the day sharp cutbacks to traffic were to take effect — that longer-distance EuroCity trains would continue to operate but with lower-than-usual frequency. Regional services used mostly by commuters will require passengers to change trains.

Italian authorities say normal regional service would resume by the weekend between the Swiss region of Ticino and Italy’s Lombardy, involving 171 connections.

On Tuesday, the Swiss operator said nearly all cross-border traffic would be halted because it didn’t have the resources to enforce an Italian government decree requiring train operators to carry out temperature and document checks on passengers.

As part of the new arrangement, Italian railway authorities will conduct the checks in two key border towns, the Swiss operator said.

European countries have expressed heightened concerns about the spread of COVID-19 during a resurgence on the continent. Switzerland has recorded high levels of transmission, but hasn’t enacted control measures that are as strict as in neighboring countries like France, Italy and Germany.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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