Switzerland: Hundreds of British ski tourists escape quarantine in Valais

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Switzerland: Hundreds of British ski tourists escape quarantine in Valais
The Swiss ski resort of Verbier. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

An estimated 350 British tourists have escaped self-quarantine in the southern Swiss ski resort of Verbier overnight, with some reported to have travelled into France.


Hoteliers and apartment operators reported the tourists missing to authorities in the Bagnes municipality on Sunday morning after calls to the tourists rooms were unanswered and breakfast trays placed in front of the rooms went untouched, DPA reports. 

Of the 370 quarantining British guests who were in the region over the weekend, only around a dozen remained in their rooms on Sunday morning. 

Switzerland stopped flights from the UK on December 20th due to a mutant strain of coronavirus which had been detected in the country. 


Those who had arrived in Switzerland since December 14th were required to quarantine for ten days from their date of arrival. 

As yet, authorities are unsure where the Britons have departed to, given that flights from Switzerland have been heavily restricted. 

Switzerland to allow UK flights from Thursday but only for certain travellers 

While return flights were again allowed to fly from Switzerland to the UK on December 24th, anyone currently in quarantine needs to obtain permission from Swiss health authorities to break quarantine in order to fly. 

DPA reports that some of those who were in quarantine have arrived in France. 

Unlike Switzerland, where skiing has been allowed throughout the winter despite coronavirus restrictions, ski slopes remain closed in France. 

Hotels are open in France however, unlike in neighbouring Austria and Germany. 


Jean-Marc Sandoz, spokesman for the Bagnes municipality to which Verbier belongs, told DPA on Sunday that "he understood the anger" of the guests. 

"Families with small children suddenly got stuck in 20-square-metre rooms," he said. 

"It would have been unbearable."

Anyone breaking quarantine in Switzerland risks a fine of CHF10,000 (£8,300). 



Comments (9)

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Anonymous 2020/12/28 20:00
@Joan - I preferred it when the disgraced travelling British were just soccer hooligans. Now that ghastly attitude is increasing in too many of their travellers.<br />Now they have their little brexit, maybe they'll just stay put and enjoy their new-found sovereignty and glorious holiday destinations..... One can hope...
Anonymous 2020/12/28 19:46
@Solid - chuckled a bit at your comment because their behavior sounded very American to me (and I am one), if you've caught any of our news of they year. But totally agreed that this is utterly selfish behavior. Anyone traveling should - by now - completely expect to be required to quarantine. And, honestly, even if not required to, if traveling I would self-quarantine in consideration of my own health and that of others. I hoped the silver-lining of this nightmare might be a societal reflection on and reset of priorities; I'm not sure we're going to get there...we seem hellbent on amplifying the least appealing of our qualities.
Anonymous 2020/12/28 19:35
I think we already are held in contempt by many because of our Brexit idiocy. This story will only add to that contempt and could make life very unpleasant for those of us who hate Brexit and whose identity is as much European as it is British. <br />Paula Read, citoyenne européenne
Anonymous 2020/12/28 18:43
Selfish, uncaring people make me feel ashamed to be english. If we are not very careful we will become pariahs!
Anonymous 2020/12/28 18:19
Yep in agreement all round - ethically, morally and all other relevant 'allys' well out of order. They need tracking down, naming and shaming. Any journey from UK at present could have consequences the way things are. Take this into account before leaving the country and then if you do the crime do your time
Anonymous 2020/12/28 17:50
A total lack of care and consideration for others, civic responsibility and moral behaviour.
Anonymous 2020/12/28 13:17
Classic British 'me, me, me' behaviour. Is it possible for Britain's international reputation to be worse?
Anonymous 2020/12/28 11:34
sanctimonious words indeed.
Anonymous 2020/12/28 08:34
I'm a Kiwi who had to quarantine in NZ on arrival for 14 days in a standard hotel room, many 1000's of Kiwi's with family including young children have had to do the same thing. Is it uncomfortable, a little, is it the end of the world ? No. Apologising for selfish and self centred people doesn't wash. It's all about them and not the community around them, shame on them.

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