Switzerland: Referendum on the implementation of the health pass

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The Swiss are being called to the polls today to adopt the legislation on health crisis management, on the basis of which the use of the health pass will be implemented, after a particularly intense election campaign.

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The referendum is being held at the time that Omicron mutation Coronavirus, first detected in South Africa and classified as a “concern” by the World Health Organization, is once again putting the planet on alert.

Indication of the unusual intensity prevailing in Switzerland In the run-up to the referendum, police have cordoned off the square in front of the federal government and parliament in Bern today, as protests are expected.

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According to opinion polls, Swiss expected to pass coronavirus legislation, despite the fact that the vaccinators and those who oppose the health bill have raised their voices in recent weeks by organizing many demonstrations, during some of which episodes broke out.

The escalation of tensions in Switzerland, a country famous for its culture of dialogue and compromise, where referendums are held several times a year, has shocked the population.

Many politicians, including Health Minister Alain Bershe, who has been at the forefront of the fight against covid-19 in the country for the past two years, have received death threats and are now being held by police.

The referendum is taking place at a time when in Switzerland, as in other European countries, there has been a rapid rise in cases since mid-October due to the variant Delta strain.

But unlike other countries, the Swiss federal government is currently refusing to tighten restrictive measures, considering that a relatively small percentage of beds in intensive care units are occupied (20%).

“The situation is under control at the moment. If the cases increase exponentially, we will have to adapt accordingly. “, Bershe said on Wednesday.

However, the government pressured the cantons to take action and urge citizens to respect basic health rules.

With a rate of fully immunized against covid-19 reaching around 65%, Switzerland has lower vaccination coverage than other Western European countries.

This is the second time in six months that the Swiss have been called to a referendum to pass covid-19 management legislation. In June, citizens had 60% support the then legislation.

But now the laws have been amended to give more power to the authorities to deal with the pandemic, but also to adopt the health pass, with the result that vaccinators and those who oppose the certificate can ask for a second referendum.

All political parties, with the exception of the populist center-right Democratic Union of the Center (UDC), the largest party in the federal parliament, support the bill.

“Suddenly we were divided between vaccinated and unvaccinated. We must reject this separation. “, complained UDC President Marco Ciesa, who called for “the restoration of freedom, fundamental rights and normalcy”.

The government replied that the health certificate facilitates travel and stay abroad, allows demonstrations to be held and “is available to everyone”, and that those who are not vaccinated can obtain it after taking a covid-19 test.

According to the latest gfs.bern poll, conducted on November 7, the bill to manage covid-19 is approved by 61% of those who intend to vote in the referendum.

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