Sunday, January 03, 2021
Tourism representatives weigh down
Doubts about mass exodus from Swiss quarantine
Because of the more contagious Corona mutation, news is making waves that hundreds of Britons have illegally left Swiss ski resorts. Now it turns out: the excitement is exaggerated. Tourism representatives in the Valais don’t know anything about alleged quarantine breakers.
A week after news of hundreds of British quarantined tourists missing in Switzerland, doubts have arisen about the scale of the incident. Simon Wiget, Tourism Director of Verbier in the canton of Valais, does not believe that 200 or more people have illegally left an ordered quarantine there. He told the dpa on request after the “NZZ am Sonntag” reported doubts.
The community spokesman for Verbier, Jean-Marc Sandoz, said on December 27th that of 370 identified guests who had had to be in quarantine, fewer than a dozen were there after Christmas. Five hoteliers reported about British departures who had not checked out regularly. Three found untouched breakfast trays in front of the rooms and found that some of the people had left overnight.
“Some respect conditions, others do not”
Tourism director Wiget now says the 370 were people who potentially had to be quarantined. The canton authorities, which never communicated figures for individual municipalities, would have had to check how many this actually applied. Legally, those among the 370 could also have left, whose quarantine obligation was already over on Christmas days. “I have no information whether people from the UK have not respected quarantine requirements or have left illegally,” said Wiget. “Certain people respect conditions and others do not – but that does not mean that all members of the same group are lawbreakers.” He does not believe that 200 or more people who are subject to quarantine have withdrawn. “It’s hard to say exactly what the situation was like.”
On December 20, Switzerland stopped all flights from Great Britain and South Africa because new and allegedly more contagious variants of the corona virus had been detected in the countries. They ordered all those who had arrived since December 14 to be quarantined retrospectively for ten days from the arrival date. According to Sandoz, he was referring to surveys of hoteliers and tour operators. His term of office as press spokesman for the community ended regularly on December 31. After his talks with journalists on December 27, the community offered him not to comment on the issue, he said. On January 1st, a new mayor, Christoph Maret, took office. He did not want to comment on dpa request and referred to tourism director Wiget.