BERLIN (AP), Sunday's Swiss vote overwhelmingly supported legislation to create a special COVID-19 certificate system that allows only those who have been tested positive, recovered or vaccinated to attend public gatherings and events.
Final results showed that 62% of voters supported the legislation, which is now in force. This referendum provided a rare indicator of public opinion about the question of government policy to combat the spread of coronavirus within Europe, currently the epicenter of the pandemic.
The country's COVID-19 law, which has also unlocked billions of Swiss Francs (dollars), in aid to workers and businesses affected by the pandemic was voted on as Switzerland faces an increase in coronavirus cases.
Unlike other countries, the Swiss federal government has not responded to criticism with new restrictions. Analysts stated that the government didn't want more opposition to its anti COVID-19 policies, but that if the Swiss vote gave the thumbs up, it could redouble its anti COVID efforts.
Alain Berset, Health Minister, stated that authorities now have "still the necessary tools to manage the crisis and we can adjust the instruments to accommodate developments."
Only two of the 26 cantons (states) in the country voted against the legislation -- Schwyz und Appenzell Innerrhoden. These are both conservative rural areas in eastern Switzerland.
Berset stated, "A decision was made. We must unite now to get this winter over as smoothly as possible." "This appeal is for unity, but also respect for the decisions that have already been made."
The turnout was 65.7% on Sunday, which is unusually high in a country that holds several referendums per year.
Tuesday's warning by Swiss health officials was a warning about a rising "fifth-wave" of infections in rich Alpine countries. Vaccinations rates in Switzerland are comparable to those in Austria and Germany, which have been hard hit at two-thirds of their population. Recent weeks have seen an increase in infection rates.
From mid-October to mid November, the average daily case count in Switzerland jumped to over 5,200 per day. This is a fivefold increase. Austria has, however, instituted a national lockdown in an effort to combat the increasing number of infections.