HUNDREDS of Brit tourists have fled a luxury Swiss ski resort under the cover of darkness after being forced into Covid quarantine.
The cloak and dagger operation came after the authorities in Verbier announced all arrivals from the UK would have to isolate due to the mutant strain of the virus.
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Verbier said on 21 December that all people who had arrived from the UK since December 14 would need to self-isolate for 10 days from their date of arrival.
But the measures led to 200 of the 420 or so “angry” Brits forced to isolate sneaking out of the town rather than stay cooped up in cramped hotel rooms, SonntagsZeitung newspaper reported.
“Many of them stayed in quarantine for a day before they set off unnoticed under the cover of darkness,” Jean-Marc Sandoz, spokesman for the wider Bagnes municipality, told SZ.
Sandoz said they managed to get out of their hotels in the town unnoticed.
“It was when they saw the meal trays remained untouched that the hoteliers noticed that the customers had gone,” he told the ATS news agency.
“We can’t blame them. In most cases, quarantine was untenable. Imagine four people staying in a hotel room of 20 square metres.”
He added that the tourists left feeling “a little angry with Switzerland” and with the sense of having been “trapped”.
Verbier is nicknamed ‘Little London’ for its popularity with Brits but there has been an upsurge in “xenophobic resentments” against UK visitors, said SonntagsZeitung
“Anyone who speaks English is suspicious,” it said.
An elderly woman from London, who had self-isolated in her second home in Verbier, was quoted in Swiss media as saying: “For days I was put under general suspicion. It was unbearable.”
Voted Switzerland’s best ski resort for the past two years, Verbier markets itself as offering “adrenaline-packed thrills, simple pleasures and a chic lifestyle”.
Switzerland’s ski resorts were set to boom with snow-seeking Brits but a flight ban due to the new Covid-19 variant raging in England put those plans on ice.
Flights between Switzerland and the two countries were halted on Monday, but the first outbound flights from Zurich to Britain resumed on Thursday.
Two cases of the new British coronavirus variant have been detected in Switzerland and one in neighbouring Liechtenstein, the Swiss health ministry said Sunday.