Covid, the first Swiss in the world to vote against the Green Pass as cases increase

Contested in the squares of half the world, the Green Pass will be at the center of the referendum that will take place on Sunday in Switzerland. On November 28, a unique event in the world, the Swiss electorate will decide on the latest changes to the law for the fight against Covid, including the introduction of the health pass. According to the latest polls, the new rules should overcome the hurdle of the polls and be approved by 61% of voters.

With just under two-thirds of the population fully vaccinated, the Swiss have one of the lowest vaccination rates in Western Europe. Now, Covid-19 infections are increasing exponentially, with the number of cases increasing from 40% to 50% every week. Hence, Health Minister Alain Berset is planning new restrictions, like neighboring Germany, or even making vaccination mandatory, like Austria.

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Up until now, Switzerland’s blockades have never been as severe as its neighbors. People could go out for exercise as often as they wanted and schools only closed for a few weeks. Then, as the infections grew, the government introduced a Covid certificate with proof of vaccination, negative test or immunity for having had the virus. In September it became mandatory to enter bars, cafes, restaurants, cinemas, museums, sporting events and university lectures in person. So, since the certificate was introduced and the anti-Covid tests stopped being free, life for the unvaccinated has become more complicated. The government hoped the measures would encourage people to get vaccinated. Instead, many took to the streets and others collected enough signatures to challenge the green certificate in Sunday’s referendum.

This is the second time that the Swiss have voted on the health measures adopted to tackle the pandemic: on 13 June a first version of the law had already been submitted to a popular vote, but at that time there was still no Green Pass. Over 60% of the voters voted in favor. On Sunday the voters are called to express their opinion on the changes to the law, approved in March and again challenged by a referendum.

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In Switzerland, a referendum can be launched by collecting at least 50,000 signatures. The vote against the new anti Covid measures was promoted by referendum committees without political affiliation, according to which the Green Pass discriminates against the unvaccinated and the tracing of contacts allows “mass surveillance”. Compared to the vote on the Covid law in June, the climate appears decidedly more tense. Political personalities, including Health Minister Alain Berset, have been targeted by the no vax and demonstrations against health measures are multiplying.

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In Switzerland, the Covid certificate is mandatory to access restaurants, cultural facilities and other indoor events or activities. The country has a vaccination rate lower than that of other European states, equal to 65% of the population, and new daily infections are growing and are around 6 thousand.

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