Switzerland votes to keep Covid restrictions as cases surge

Switzerland votes to keep Covid restrictions as cases surge
© Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images A protester attends a rally against coronavirus measures, the Covid-19 health pass and vaccination in Geneva on October 9, 2021.

Swiss voters on Sunday approved their government’s pandemic response plan in a referendum by a 62.01% majority, according to official results published on the Federal Chancellery’s website.

With a 65.72% participation, the Sunday referendum showed that most Swiss voters are unwilling to give up restrictive measures against Covid-19, with the result being close to that obtained in a first vote last June on the 2020 Covid law, which was accepted by 60.2% of the votes.

This Sunday, voters had to decide on several modifications of the law, which were adopted by the Swiss parliament in March 2021.

The changes were made eight months ago to “extend of financial aid to people who could not be supported before or not enough, as well as “to improve the tracing of contact cases and increase testing capacity.” They also enacted the legal basis for the introduction of the “Covid certificate” — or health pass — “in order to facilitate travel abroad and to allow the holding of certain events,” per the Federal Council.

In Switzerland, any decisions taken at the federal, cantonal or municipal level can later be questioned by voters, sometimes months after their implementation.

The Sunday approval comes after the Confederation was hit hard by a fifth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the Swiss government’s Covid platform, 75,843 new cases had been detected in the country over the past 14 days as of Thursday, a number approaching last year’s peak of infections.

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