Swiss government will provide free COVID-19 tests for everyone in the country

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(CNN) - The Swiss government is set to provide free coronavirus tests for everyone in the country as it moves forward with plans to ease restrictions.

A statement from the Federal Swiss Council said they hoped to "massively strengthen testing to accompany the planned relaxation of restrictions."

"To bring about an increase in tests, the government proposes that the state takes care of the cost of all tests."

Non-essential shops were the first to reopen in Switzerland on Monday with the Swiss government set to assess on March 12 whether outdoor dining may resume beginning March 22.

The Swiss government currently finances tests in schools, nursing homes and areas where flare ups of the virus have been detected.

Schools and businesses should test their staff and students regularly "in order to detect as soon as possible the flare ups of the coronavirus" the government said.

Businesses who regularly test their employees may be able to bypass the close contact quarantine requirement the government added.

As soon as self-testing is found to be "sufficiently reliable" the Swiss government hopes to offer five tests to each person per month.

The testing campaign is set to cost the Swiss government over a billion Swiss francs with a final decision to be taken March 12 following a discussion with the cantons.

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