The Swiss once again called to the polls to vote on the health pass

The Swiss vote, Sunday, November 28, on the Covid-19 law which made it possible to create the health pass, at the end of a stormy electoral campaign. A sign of unusual tensions in Switzerland, the police blocked the square in front of the seat of government and parliament in Bern on Sunday, in anticipation of the protests.

According to the polls, however, the population should accept the law even if the antivax and antipasse have been able to make their voice heard in recent weeks by organizing numerous demonstrations, sometimes banned and punctuated by violence, but which nevertheless remain far from the real riots in the United States. Netherlands or Guadeloupe.

The rise of tensions in Switzerland, a country renowned for its culture of dialogue and compromise and where referendums are organized several times a year in a peaceful atmosphere, had the effect of an electric shock. Many politicians, including the Minister of Health Alain Berset, who for two years has come to embody the fight against Covid in the Alpine country, have been threatened with death and are now placed under police protection.

This referendum comes as the new Omicron variant, detected in South Africa and described as “Worrying” by the World Health Organization, has plunged the planet back into a state of alert.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Covid-19: in Switzerland, the fifth wave sweeps over the least vaccinated population in Western Europe

Lagging behind on immunization coverage

The Swiss also vote on Sunday on a popular initiative on nursing care which calls on the confederation to guarantee a “Appropriate remuneration” care services.

The votes come as Switzerland, like other countries, has experienced an outbreak of infections since mid-October due to the Delta variant. But unlike other countries in the same case, the government has so far refused to toughen national control measures, arguing that the occupancy of intensive care beds by Covid patients was relatively low at this time. day (20%).

“The situation is under control for the moment. If the cases were to increase exponentially, we would have to adapt as we go “Mr. Berset said at a press conference on Wednesday. The government, however, urged the cantons to take action and called on the population to respect basic health measures.

With a rate of fully vaccinated people of around 65%, Switzerland lags behind in vaccination coverage compared to other countries in Western Europe.

This is the second time in less than six months that the population must vote on the Covid law. In June, citizens supported it with 60% of the vote in a first referendum. But the law having been amended to give the authorities more latitude to fight the pandemic and allow the establishment of the Covid certificate, the antipasse decided to launch a second referendum.

Read also Covid-19: Switzerland will extend the obligation of the health pass

“Extreme and unnecessary hardening”

The referendum committee refuses this “Extreme and unnecessary tightening of the Covid law” and in particular denounces the Covid certificate, “Which implicitly induces a forced vaccination”. For Agnès Aédo, spokesperson for “Friends of the Constitution”, one of the groups behind the referendum, this law “Will create a two-speed society”.

All political movements, with the exception of the right-wing populist UDC, the country’s largest party, support the law. “Suddenly we are supposed to be divided between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated. We must refuse this split “, denounced the president of the SVP, Marco Chiesa, who calls for “Restore freedom, fundamental rights and normality”.

The government told him that the certificate facilitates travel and stays abroad, allows demonstrations to be held and is “Available to all” because people who have not been vaccinated and who have not had the virus can be tested.

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers In Switzerland, Kosovars accused of spreading Covid-19

According to the latest survey by the gfs.bern institute carried out on November 7, 61% of people wishing to participate in the vote then supported the Covid-19 law and 67% the nursing initiative. In the latter case, as it is a popular initiative, a majority of the cantons is also required for the text to be adopted.

Our selection of articles on the health pass

The World with AFP