Making unvaccinated pay for COVID tests could be illegal, Swiss experts claim
The Swiss government is facing mounting pressure from political parties to keep COVID-19 tests free after the October 10 deadline, in order to prevent a “lockdown” for the unvaccinated. Legal experts are also concerned that the measures are not part of any Swiss law, making them possibly illegal.
Scrapping free COVID tests may be illegal
Under the current “3G” system, you have to present a certificate proving that you have been vaccinated, tested or have recovered from COVID-19 in order to visit the inside of bars, restaurants, hotels and fitness centres. As part of the certificate requirement, the government had planned to stop free testing for unvaccinated, asymptomatic people on October 10, which could lead to costs of over 150 Swiss francs per test.
Now, the move has come under fire from legal experts, who do not believe that the new rules abide by Swiss law. Writing in Jusletter - Weblaw, Research Associate and legal expert at the University of Zurich Kaspar Gerber said that there is "neither in the Epidemics Act nor in the COVID-19 Act a sufficient basis for the compulsory certificate with fee-based tests."
He noted that the government had not included any requirement for paid testing as part of the new COVID laws. He clarified that he is “very supportive” of COVID vaccination and of measures to protect Swiss healthcare, but wanted to ensure that all coronavirus law is based “on a clean legal basis, otherwise we have concerns about the rule of law.”
Swiss National Council hopes to overturn Federal Council decision
Meanwhile, in the Swiss Parliament, what 20 minuten called an “Unholy Alliance” of Swiss political parties from left and right urged the government to keep tests free. Leader of the group and Member of the National Council Thomas Aeschi said that if the certificate requirement stayed, so too should free testing. Otherwise, Aeschi claimed that the unvaccinated would be “harassed.”
The group has called for an "urgent procedure" to push through a vote on continuing free tests. Now, the two chambers will vote on the matter, before sending it to the executive Federal Council for final approval. A decision on the extension of free tests is expected on Friday.