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Switzerland Restarts Famous Fountain as COVID-19 Levels Decline

People applaud during a ceremony marking the restarting of Geneva's landmark fountain, known as Jet d'Eau, following the COVID-19 outbreak, June 11, 2020.

U.N. and World Health Organization (WHO) officials took part in a ceremony Thursday to restart the Swiss city of Geneva's famous Jet d'Eau fountain that was turned off in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fountain, one of the city's most famous landmarks, again shot 500 liters of water per second to a height of 140 meters as a string quartet played, and a crowd cheered. Swiss officials turned on the fountain as the number of coronavirus cases in the city fell to levels deemed safe.

Speaking at the ceremony, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus congratulated Switzerland for containing the outbreak, but as always urged all countries and all citizens to remain "vigilant."

He said now is not the time to neglect safe practices such as handwashing, wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance. He said while the COVID-19 situation is improving in Europe, it is getting worse worldwide and it will take global solidarity to fully defeat the pandemic.

Tedros advised Geneva – and the rest of the world – to "find, isolate, test and care for every case and trace and quarantine every contact."

According to Johns Hopkins University, Switzerland has recorded 31,044 cases of COVID-19 and 1,937 deaths.

The Jet d'Eau fountain is one of Geneva's most famous landmarks and sits just offshore on Lake Geneva. One of the world's tallest fountains, its name literally means "water jet" and was originally built to control and release excess pressure from a nearby hydraulic plant.