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Businesses urged to back Swiss Covid-19 vaccination strategy

Berset insists that more people need to be vaccinated to defeat the pandemic. Keystone / Peter Schneider

Health Minister Alain Berset has urged companies to back the government’s Covid-19 vaccination campaign, arguing it is in the economy’s interest to get as many people vaccinated as possible.

Speaking to the SonntagsBlick newspaper on Sunday, Berset said thatExternal link: “Greater commitment from business is needed.”

Earlier this week, the government said that current restrictions would remain in place as too few people are vaccinated amid rising rates of daily infections.

Just under half of the Swiss population has received two jabs so far but daily infections have practically doubled recently to top 2,000 a day.

“Given that everyone living in Switzerland will at some point come into contact with Covid-19, the Federal Council believes that an increase in infections, hospitalisations and deaths is inevitable,” the government statedExternal link on Wednesday.

This has led the authorities to redouble efforts to persuade more people to get a jab against Covid-19 and register for a certificate to prove that they are either vaccinated or have recently recovered from an infection. The rate of vaccinations has levelled off since mid-July.

Caterers unhappy

“Companies, sports clubs, fitness centers, cultural organisations: everyone who has suffered so badly should have an interest in getting as many people vaccinated as possible,” Berset told the SonntagsBlick.

“There are certain industries that are now fighting against a certificate. Hopefully, if this energy is invested in advancing vaccination, then expansion [of restrictions] will not be necessary.”

The Swiss Trade Association this week criticised the government for linking the rate of vaccinations to lifting restrictions. Instead, it argues for a strategy of targeted protection and increased testing.

Gastrosuisse, the umbrella organisation for the catering industry, complained that restaurants must continue to limit the numbers of indoors diners. The lobby group said that the economy should be fully opened up now that everyone who wants to be vaccinated has received their jabs.

In November, Switzerland will vote on a popular initiative that challenges the government’s power to impose restrictions on the nation. In particular, the initiative argues it is discriminatory to require that people have Covid-19 certificates to attend large scale events.

An earlier attempt to veto the government’s Covid-19 policy was rejected by voters in June.

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