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One of Europe's most famous mountains is being used to send messages of hope during the coronavirus pandemic.

Switzerland's Zermatt ski resort has begun light projections to the top of the Matterhorn, the famous pyramid-shaped peak that straddles Switzerland and Italy.

The light projections include messages such as #hope as well as #stayhome on a red backdrop, and the Swiss flag with its white cross.

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The light show runs each evening from sunset until 11pm and can be seen via live webcams.

"With this light projection, Zermatt wants to give people a sign of hope and solidarity in these difficult times. The village shows solidarity with all the people who are currently suffering and is grateful to all those who are helping to overcome the crisis," stated Zermatt Tourism.

The Matterhorn lights up each night between sunset at 11pm. Photo / Zermatt Tourismus
The Matterhorn lights up each night between sunset at 11pm. Photo / Zermatt Tourismus

"The Matterhorn has always been a symbol of Switzerland and a place of strength and stability. Zermatt is convinced: as strong as the Matterhorn, so strong must the society stand together, be anchored and let the storm pass."

The projections are being run by light artist Gerry Hofstetter, who has worked on light shows on buildings, monuments, landscapes and mountains all over the world.

Swiss light artist Gerry Hofstetter is behind the Matterhorn light show. Photo / Zermatt Tourismus
Swiss light artist Gerry Hofstetter is behind the Matterhorn light show. Photo / Zermatt Tourismus

Zermatt Tourism said the village wants to show solidarity with all people who are suffering, as well as express gratitude to those who are helping overcome the crisis.

"This includes the medical staff, all those who ensure the logistics and the supply of the population as well as all those who stay at home out of consideration and adapt their daily routine and tasks to the circumstances."

Switzerland has already surpassed 11,000 cases of positive coronavirus test results. Photo / Zermatt Tourismus
Switzerland has already surpassed 11,000 cases of positive coronavirus test results. Photo / Zermatt Tourismus

Switzerland has over 11,800 cases of coronavirus and 191 deaths. It was the fifth European country to surpass 10,000 cases, joining Italy, Spain, Germany and France, despite it having a much smaller population of just 8.5 million.

The Swiss government has asked all citizens to stay at home, especially the sick and the elderly. There is a ban on gatherings of more than five people, and charter flights are operating to try and repatriate Swiss residents stuck overseas. Schools are closed nationwide, as are all bars, restaurants and cultural spaces until at least April 19. The government is also looking into how to track crowd build-ups through mobile data.

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Around two-fifths of coronavirus deaths in Switzerland have occured in Ticino, which borders Italy.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website