Swiss vote on COVID law amid sharp rise in infections

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Swiss voters are having their say in a referendum Sunday on legislation which imposed the use of a special COVID-19 certificate that lets only people who have been vaccinated, recovered, or tested negative attend public events and gatherings

BERLIN — Swiss voters were having their say in a referendum Sunday on legislation which imposed the use of a special COVID-19 certificate that lets only people who have been vaccinated, recovered or tested negative attend public events and gatherings.

The vote on the country’s “COVID-19 law,” which also has unlocked billions of Swiss francs in aid for workers and businesses hit by the pandemic, comes as Switzerland — like many other nations in Europe — faces a steep rise in coronavirus cases.

The Swiss federal government, unlike others, hasn’t responded with new restrictions. Analysts say it doesn’t want to stir up more opposition to its anti-COVID-19 policies before they face Sunday’s test at the ballot box. If the Swiss give a thumbs-up, however, the government may well ratchet up its anti-COVID efforts.

Polls suggest a solid majority of Swiss will approve the measure, which is already in effect and the rejection of which would end the restrictions — as well as the payouts. But in recent weeks, opponents have raised heaps of cash for their campaign and drawn support from abroad.

On Tuesday, Swiss health authorities warned of a rising “fifth wave” in the rich Alpine country, where vaccination rates are roughly in line with those in hard-hit neighbors Austria and Germany at about two-thirds of the population. Infection rates have soared in recent weeks.

The seven-day average case count in Switzerland shot up to more than 5,200 per day from mid-October to mid-November, a more than five-fold increase — with an upward curve like those in neighboring Germany and Austria.

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Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic

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