GENEVA – About 200 British holidaymakers forced to respect a 10-day quarantine in the Swiss ski resort of Verbier fled secretly in the night, the municipality said Sunday.
About 200 out of an estimated 420 British holidaymakers stricken in Verbier by the quarantine measures imposed by the Swiss government on travelers coming from Britain since December 14, left right away, reported the newspaper SonntagsZeitung.
The upscale resort of Verbier, very popular with British customers, hoped to welcome thousands of skiers from Great Britain, but the discovery of the new British variant of the novel coronavirus has shattered those hopes.
Some British tourists staying in Verbier left immediately, but others decided to stay a little longer, the communications officer for the municipality of Bagnes, Jean-Marc Sandoz, said.
Many remained in quarantine for a day before slipping away, he told the ATS news agency.
“It was when they saw that the meal trays remained intact that the hoteliers noticed that the customers had left,” Sandoz said.
“We can’t blame them. In most cases, quarantine was untenable. Imagine being four in a hotel room of 20 meters square,” he added.
The tourists left “a little angry with Switzerland” and with the feeling of having been “trapped,” he added.
British tourists normally represent 21% of the clientele of this Valais resort, voted the best ski resort in Switzerland for the past two years.
Two cases of the new British variant of the coronavirus have been detected in Switzerland and one in neighboring Liechtenstein, the Swiss Ministry of Health said Sunday.
Two cases of the South African variant have also been reported.