Extending the use of Covid-19 certificates to bars, restaurants and other public indoor spaces to prevent the spread of the virus is “the right way to go”, says Lukas Engelberger, president of the Conference of Cantonal Health Directors. The cantons must decide whether to approve the government measure outlined earlier this week.
“We broadly agree with the Federal Council on the extension of the [Covid-19] certificate obligation,” Engelberger told reporters in Bern on Thursday, describing the certificate as a “success story”.
The Swiss Covid-19 certificate provides proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test result. A certificate requirement is already in place for nightclubs and large events. Switzerland is considering ordering staff and visitors to show a certificate in most public indoor spaces, as the government warns that hospitals could soon be overrun by a rising number of serious cases.
“The opinion of a clear majority of the health directors is that this step is the right way to go,” said Engelberger.
Switzerland is being hit by a fourth wave of the coronavirus with a “very worrying” rise in infections, say health officials. New cases have rebounded since July to between 2,500-3,000 a day. The growth is largely due to the highly infectious Delta variant affecting unvaccinated people, mainly in the 10-29-year-old age group. Hospital admissions have increased five-fold over the past month, but the number of Covid-related deaths remains at a low level.
The vaccination campaign has meanwhile slowed with just over 50% of the population double-jabbed.
Extension of the Covid-19 certificate obligation, if it goes ahead, would cover public events, as well as restaurants, bars and recreational sites like cinemas and museums, sports centres and cultural activities, the government said. It has launched a consultation with cantonal authorities which will run until August 30.
Engelberger said it would be a good decision as other possible measures would be more drastic and also “less fair” because vaccinated people would suffer from the measures. Any extension of the certificate would have to be done nationwide, he insisted.
“Hospitalisations are on the rise, mainly due to people returning from their travels, but also because of partying and nightlife,” said the health director. Another concern is that some people are no longer reporting getting infected to avoid quarantine, he added.
Reactions to the government proposal have been mixed so far. The Swiss business associations Economiesuisse and the Swiss Employers’ Union (UPS) welcomed the move. However, the Swiss Museum Association, Gastrosuisse, which represents the restaurant sector, and the Swiss Bar and Club Commission all rejected the measure.
Source: Swiss Info