'Freedom Pass': Will Switzerland introduce a British-style coronavirus immunity card?

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 6 Dec, 2020 Updated Sun 6 Dec 2020 09:40 CEST
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A ‘covid immunity card’ would give holders special benefits and a 'return to normality' of sorts, but would it be introduced in Switzerland?

A number of politicians and Swiss medical experts have called for the introduction of a coronavirus immunity card for people who have been vaccinated or who are tested regularly. 

Swiss health officials said they would be open to such a move, but that it was too early to develop an immunity card at the present time as the focus should be on vaccine development and approval. 

Such proposals have become more common across Europe recently, particularly after the development of a similar plan in the UK became public knowledge in November. 

Ruth Humbel, a National Councillor with the Swiss People’s Party, said that people who are immune to the virus should receive a card or certificate which will allow them to participate in certain activities, such as going to football games, clubs or travelling, 20 Minutes reports

A study prepared by the University Hospital of Geneva showed that 60 percent of the public were in favour of an immunity card or ‘passport’. 

Basel Epidemiologist Heiner Bucher told 20 Minutes the development of such a card could enable international travel again, with the card showing that a person is immune or has recently received a negative result in a test. 

Swiss economist Reiner Eichenberger wrote in Switzerland’s ‘Finanz und Wirtschaft’ magazine that those who are immune - whether due to vaccination or a test which shows antibodies from a previous infection - should be provided with a card that allows them to reenter the economy. 

“(The card) should be limited in time and updated according to the development of scientific knowledge on immunity,”

“The certified natural people with immunity should get all normal freedoms again. We need such immunity certificates more and more urgently.”

‘Too early’

Federal Office of Public Health spokesperson Katrin Holenstein said it was too early to start handing out immunity cards at this stage. 

“It is still a little early to discuss the development of an immunity card and an extensive easing of protective measures,” she said. 

Such a decision should not be made “before it is clear what quality and effectiveness the approved Covid-19 vaccines will have”. 

Holenstein said it was crucial to know how long the immunity would last and the degree to which immunity prevented further transmission.

What is the British idea? 

A similar plan being developed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, reported widely in the British media, has said to be the inspiration for a similar certificate or card being adopted in Switzerland. 

Known as a ‘Freedom Pass’, it would allow people in Britain who are tested regularly to engage in a range of otherwise restricted activities, such as attending events and not wearing masks. 

A source told the Telegraph "They (Freedom Passes) will allow someone to wander down the streets, and if someone else asks why they are not wearing a mask, they can show the card, letter or an App."





The Local 2020/12/06 09:40

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