​​​​​​​Swiss police open probe into false Covid certificates

False Covid certificates have allegedly been issued by people working for pharmacies. Police do not yet know the extent of the scam. Keystone / Alessandro Della Valle

Hundreds of fake Covid certificates have been issued in Geneva and in the western Swiss canton of Vaud, authorities said on Friday.

This content was published on October 8, 2021 - 15:07

Vaud police have opened an investigation, estimating that about 100 fakes were given to people who were neither vaccinated nor tested.

These were allegedly issued by people working in pharmacies, who then gave them to relatives, sometimes for a fee. Investigations are under way "to determine the responsibilities of the various protagonists involved and the extent of the phenomenon," the police said in a statement on Friday.

It added that "anyone creating, counterfeiting or using such certificates is liable to criminal prosecution. The offences carry fines and prison sentences of up to five years”.

In Geneva, four people were also arrested in connection with a false certificate racket. Among those arrested are employees of the Civil Defence who worked in a vaccination centre,  Geneva's Prosecutor General Olivier Jornot told reporters on Friday. The alleged perpetrators are said to have sold almost 200 fake certificates at a unit price of CHF400 ($431) .

Compulsory for bars and restaurants

Covid certificates have been compulsory in Switzerland since September 13 to access indoor public spaces like bars, restaurants and museums as well as large gatherings. The certificates are meant to offer proof of full vaccination, a recent negative test or recovery from Covid-19.

Extension of the compulsory Covid certificate has drawn protest from some groups, who accuse the government of introducing mandatory vaccination “through the back door”.

New daily coronavirus cases across the country on Friday fell to under 1,000 for the first time since the beginning of August (968), according to the Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH). However, the authorities remain concerned about the country’s relatively low rate of vaccinations compared with other European countries, especially as winter approaches.

Around 64% of the population have now received at least one dose of anti-Covid vaccine, according to latest official figures.

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