Hundreds of British tourists quarantined in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier fled at night instead of seeing their holidays go downhill, the local community said on Sunday.
Around 200 of the around 420 British tourists affected in the Alpine luxury ski station quit under cover of darkness, reported the Sunday newspaper.
The Swiss ski resorts were booming with British tourists looking for snow – but a flight ban due to the new Covid-19 variant in England put these plans on hold.
The Swiss government’s drastic decision also included a 10-day retrospective quarantine for anyone who had traveled from the UK since December 14, after a new variant of the coronavirus was discovered that experts fear is spreading faster.
Some of the British tourists affected in Verbier left immediately while others held out briefly before stopping.
“Many of them stayed in quarantine for a day before they set off unnoticed in the cover of darkness,” said Jean-Marc Sandoz, spokesman for the larger municipality of Bagnes, to SZ.
He called the whole situation “the worst week our church has ever seen”.
British tourists typically make up 21 percent of Verbier’s clientele, and most of them flock in just after Christmas.
Verbier has been voted the best ski resort in Switzerland for the past two years and markets itself with “adrenaline thrills, simple pleasures and a chic lifestyle”.
The Verbier Tourist Office has held daily crisis cell meetings to try to deal with the ever-changing picture of the coronavirus.
– Breakfast untouched –
“When they saw that the food trays were left untouched, the hoteliers noticed that the customers had left,” Sandoz told the ATS news agency.
According to a survey on Saturday in the hotels in the ski area, there are still fewer than 10 people in quarantine.
The rest would either have left or their quarantine period would have expired.
“We cannot blame them. In most cases, the quarantine was untenable. Imagine four people sleeping in a 20-square-meter hotel room,” said Sandoz.
He said the tourists were “a little angry with Switzerland” and felt “trapped”.
Flights between Switzerland and the two countries were suspended on Monday, but the first outbound flights from Zurich to the UK resumed on Thursday.
Two cases of the new British coronavirus variant were discovered in Switzerland and one in neighboring Liechtenstein, the Swiss Ministry of Health announced on Sunday.
Two cases of the new South African variant of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, have also been discovered, the ministry said.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)