Opponents believe existing laws are “sufficient to protect the Swiss from Covid-19 or other infectious diseases,” according to the LoiCovid-Non commission, which includes several groups opposing the law. They also argue that the Covid law discriminates against the unvaccinated and would lead to an “unprecedented divide in Swiss society”.
Last month, a spokeswoman for the Friends of the Constitution committee, part of LoiCovid-Non, referred to the Swiss health card as a “health apartheid”. The certificate imposes an obligation to get vaccinated as the tests are now paid for, Cailler argued. “We’re trying to force the population through their wallets,” she said.
The latest wave has hit Switzerland hard with a seven-day moving average of more than 5,000 cases per day over the past week out of a population of 8 million. According to the Swiss government’s Covid platform, 75,843 new cases had been detected in the country in the past 14 days as of Thursday, a number approaching last year’s peak of infections.
This is the second time in less than six months that the Swiss have had to vote on health measures. In June, citizens supported the 2020 Covid law with 60.2% of the vote in a first referendum.
Navigating the pandemic and its legal updates has been a challenge to the confederation’s system of direct democracy, in which any decisions made at the federal, cantonal or municipal level can later be questioned by voters.
As is usually the case, three laws will be put to a vote on Sunday: the Covid Act, a “Strong Nursing Care” initiative and an initiative on how federal judges are selected.