British vacationers ‘fled’ Swiss ski resort ‘underneath cowl of night time’ after quarantine imposed, says native official
(CNN) – British tourists “secretly” fled the Swiss ski resort of Verbier under cover of darkness instead of undergoing a new quarantine imposed on British visitors, a local official said Monday.
Switzerland is one of dozen of countries that have banned travel from the UK over a new, potentially more transmissible, variant of coronavirus that has been linked to a recent surge in cases in England.
On December 21, the Federal Council imposed an entry ban and a retrospective 10-day quarantine period for all travelers from Great Britain and South Africa – who have discovered another new variant – i.e. everyone who has entered Switzerland from both countries since December 14 at Quarantine required.
“Some British tourists left immediately while others decided to stay a little longer. Some of them secretly fled during the night,” Jean-Marc Sandoz, spokesman for the city of Bagnes, about 20 minutes from Verbier, told CNN.
“They left … as soon as they found a way back to their homes,” he added, noting that the exact number of tourists who had left the resort had not been confirmed.
According to Sandoz, 370 British vacationers have been registered as required to adhere to the 10-day quarantine order.
“Some of them had to leave for France because planes for Great Britain are suspended in Switzerland,” said Sandoz.
“You can’t blame them. In most cases, the quarantine was unbearable. Imagine you live with four people in a 20-square-meter hotel room and have to pay to stay in a Swiss ski resort,” he added.
UK tourists typically make up 21% of vacationers who stay at the resort, according to Simon Wiget, head of the Verbier Tourism Office.
As scientists search for more information on the variant discovered in the UK, its effects are already being felt.
Authorities tightened pandemic restrictions in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during the festive period.
New cases of the variant have been discovered worldwide in countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Jordan, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain and Sweden.