(CNN) – A local official said on Monday that British tourists “secretly” fled the Swiss ski resort in Verbier under cover of darkness instead of undergoing the new quarantine imposed on visitors to the United Kingdom.
On December 21, the Swiss Federal Council imposed an entry ban and a 10-day retroactive quarantine period on all travelers from the United Kingdom and South Africa – which discovered another new variant – that is, anyone who entered Switzerland from the two countries since December. 14 wanted for quarantine.
“Some of the British tourists left immediately, while others decided to stay a little longer. Some of them secretly fled overnight,” Jean-Marc Sandoz, a spokesman for the town of Bagen, about 20 minutes from Verbier, told CNN.
“They left … as soon as they found a way to return to their homes,” he added, noting that the exact number of tourists who left the resort had not been confirmed.
According to Sandoz, 370 vacationers in the UK are registered as required to comply with a 10-day quarantine order.
“Some of them had to leave for France, because planes bound for the United Kingdom are suspended in Switzerland,” Sandoz said.
“You can’t blame them. In most cases the quarantine was unbearable. Imagine staying with four people in a 20-square-meter hotel room, and they had to pay for the stay in a Swiss ski resort,” he added.
According to the head of the Verbier Tourist Office, Simon Wiggett, British tourists usually make up 21% of the vacationers staying at the resort.
While scientists are looking for more information about the variable discovered in the United Kingdom, its impact is already being felt.
Authorities tightened epidemiological restrictions in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland during the holiday period.
New cases of the variant have been detected around the world, in countries such as Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Jordan, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain and Sweden.