Pressure mounts to keep free Covid tests
The Swiss government is facing increasing pressure to maintain free tests against Covid-19.
A parliamentary health committee on Wednesday demanded the government review its plans to make people pay for asymptomatic tests.
It said free tests were a key factor to contain the spread of the virus and prevent overcapacity in hospitals.
Most main political parties as well as an online petition with more than 260,000 unvalidated signatures have also called for the tests to remain free of charge.
However, a majority of the 26 cantons has come out in favour of scrapping free tests.
The government is due to decide next Friday on its next steps. Initially it announced that it was planning to make people pay tests from October 1.
Tests are one of three ways – besides a vaccination or a confirmation of having recovered from the viral infection – of obtaining a Covid certificate in Switzerland, which is necessary to get access to mass events, restaurants and indoor sports and culture venues.
Critics have rejected the certificate as an interference in the private sphere.
The issue has caused public controversy and triggered regular street protests.swissinfo.ch/urs