Swiss vote on COVID-19 law amid spike in infections | Corona virus pandemic news
Voters who vote in the referendum will decide whether Switzerland should impose severe restrictions on the coronavirus.
Swiss voters are casting their views on legislation to force the use of a COVID-19 certificate that allows only people who have been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative to attend public events and gatherings.
Sunday’s referendum provides a relatively rare lead for public opinion on the issue of government policy to combat the coronavirus in Europe, which is currently the global epicenter of the pandemic.
The vote on the country’s COVID-19 law, which has also unlocked billions of Swiss francs to help workers and businesses affected by the pandemic, comes as Switzerland – like many other countries in Europe – faces a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
Unlike others, the Swiss federal government has not responded with new restrictions. Analysts say she does not want to provoke further opposition to her anti-COVID-19 policies before they face Sunday’s test at the ballot box.
However, if the Swiss give a thumbs up, the government may step up efforts to combat COVID.
Opinion polls indicate that the vast majority of Swiss would agree to the measure, which is already in effect, and rejecting it would end the restrictions – as well as payments. But in recent weeks, opponents have raised huge funds for their campaign and gained support from abroad.
Swiss health authorities on Tuesday warned of a growing “fifth wave” in the rich Alpine country, where vaccination rates are roughly in line with those in hard-hit Austria and Germany at around two-thirds of the population. Infection rates have risen in recent weeks.
The seven-day average number of cases in Switzerland rose to more than 5,200 per day from mid-October to mid-November, a more than fivefold increase – with an upward curve like those in Germany and Austria.
The sudden rise in cases comes as dozens of countries have reimposed bans on travelers from several countries in South Africa due to a new strain of coronavirus.
The Omicron variant is a potentially more contagious variant of COVID-19. It was first discovered in South Africa and described by the World Health Organization as a “kind of concern”.
Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom have become the latest countries in Europe to discover cases of the Omicron variant.