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Swiss to launch COVID-19 certificates next week

ZURICH, June 4 (Reuters) - Switzerland will start distributing “COVID-19 certificates” next week to people who have been vaccinated, tested negative or who have recovered from an infection, the government said on Friday.

It was still working out details of when a certificate -- available in hard copy and electronic format -- must be presented and which restrictions may be lifted for bearers including those seeking to attend events.

An ordinance creating the legal foundation for launching the system takes effect on Monday, when the first certificates will start to roll out. They will be available to the general public by the end of June at the latest.

The system is designed to protect individuals’ privacy and includes apps for storing and checking the certificates that will be available free of charge in Google and Apple app stores.

Switzerland has allowed larger private gatherings than originally planned as rising vaccinations and falling COVID-19 infections prompt the nation to accelerate its economic re-opening. It is preparing for events with up to 5,000 people in attendance from July.

Nearly 700,000 people in Switzerland and tiny neighbour Liechtenstein have contracted COVID-19 and more than 10,000 have died of it since the pandemic began in early 2020. (Reporting by John Miller and Michael Shields)

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