Swiss reject plan to abolish the COVID health passport – archyde

Swiss have voted on the abolition of the COVID certificate, which restricts the movement of unvaccinated people

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Swiss have voted on the abolition of the COVID certificate, which restricts the movement of unvaccinated people

The Swiss public firmly opposed a plan to abolish the country’s COVID certificate, final results showed after a referendum on Sunday.

62 percent of voters said “yes” to keeping the health pass, which was introduced in September. and do not strive for any significant changes to the Swiss COVID law.

The certificate restricts access to public places to people who are fully vaccinated, have recovered from the virus, or have a negative test.

The referendum came as concerns grew over the worrying new variant of COVID-19, Omicron, which was first discovered in southern Africa and identified as a variant of concern by the World Health Organization.

Why was the referendum held?

Sunday’s vote was an attempt to change the country’s COVID law that brought in the health certificate and unlocked billions of Swiss francs in aid for workers and companies affected by the pandemic.

Opponents of the certificate forced a vote on a petition that garnered 187,000 signatures, far more than the 50,000 required for a referendum.

They said the passport, which most people use via an app, is discriminatory and amounts to a de facto vaccination requirement.

Along with grassroots groups formed during the pandemic, the right-wing People’s Party campaigned for its abolition, despite voting in favor of the certificate earlier this year.

In the past few weeks, those who tried to end its use have raised large sums of money for their campaign and received support from abroad – where negative sentiment towards new COVID restrictions has increased.

The campaign even won the support of American anti-vaccination activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., who flew into the capital Bern for a rally earlier this month.

However, surveys in the run-up to the vote showed that around 60% of Swiss people were against the abolition of the certificate.

Some supporters of the pass launched a campaign with the slogan “Get vaccinated, stop moaning”.

Despite the support for certificates, analysts expected an above-average participation in this referendum, as many Swiss people did not want to be vaccinated.

Sunday’s poll was the second time in less than six months that the Swiss public voted on the government’s response to the pandemic.

In June, 60% of voters approved an extension of the national measures.

Why was this vote important?

The referendum provided a rare litmus test of public opinion specifically on COVID health passports, which have sparked protests in Switzerland and across Europe.

The Swiss government, always careful not to violate the country’s rules of direct democracy, has been reluctant to introduce additional restrictions to contain a new winter wave of the virus.

Support for their policies on Sunday is likely to encourage the government to take new action.

So far, ministers have recommended working more from home and made wearing masks compulsory in many public places indoors.

The infection rates have more than quintupled in the last few weeks to an average of 5,200 per day.

With around two thirds of the population, Switzerland’s vaccination rate is roughly on par with neighboring Austria, which recently became the first European country to return to lockdown and will make vaccinations compulsory in the spring.

Germany, which saw a record nearly 70,000 daily cases this week, also saw a sharp increase in fake vaccination certificates.

Two other votes took place on Sunday – one would get caregivers higher wages, better conditions and more money for training, the other about the appointment of federal judges by parliament or a commission of experts.

The final results showed that 61% supported the Nursing Support Initiative, while 68% of voters opposed the plan to reform the judge nomination project.

mm / wmr (AFP, AP, dpa)

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