About 420 people from the United Kingdom were made to self-isolate after the Swiss Government imposed a 10-day retroactive quarantine for any who arrived from the United Kingdom since December 14.
But staff at the luxury Verbier resort began to notice guests were missing after trays of food left outside their rooms were left uneaten.
Jean-Marc Sandoz, a spokesperson for the Bagnes municipality in the canton of Valais, told a local newspaper SonntagsZeitung that about 50 tourists instantly fled, and as of the weekend, less than a dozen remain.
He told the ATS news agency that many of the Verbier resort’s British guests remained in quarantine for a day before they set off unseen under the cloak of darkness.
Jean-Marc Sandoz added that it was when they saw the meal trays remained untouched that the hoteliers noticed that the customers had gone and he said that they couldn’t blame them and that in most circumstances, quarantine was untenable – visualise four people staying in a hotel room of 20 square metres.
He said the tourists left feeling slightly infuriated with Switzerland, with the sense of having been trapped and Mr Sandoz said the entire situation was the worst week their community had ever encountered.
A news outlet reported some guests later contacted their hotels to find out whether they still had to pay for the nights they’d booked.
It came after fears of the spread of a new mutant strain of coronavirus had caused enormous swathes of countries to prohibit travel from the United Kingdom, which has been dubbed ‘Plague Island’ as a result.
But because flights from Switzerland had also been withdrawn, it was unclear where the tourists had fled to and Swiss authorities said on Sunday it was probable some people would materialise in France.
And according to authorities, two cases of the new COVID 19 variant have been detected in Switzerland and one in neighbouring Liechtenstein so far.
The Verbier resort is known as Little London for its popularity with British visitors, particularly after Christmas.
It’s been voted Switzerland’s best ski resort for the last two years, with Verbier markets offering adrenalin-packed delights, simple pleasures and trendy lifestyle and British tourists usually make up 21 per cent of its clientele.
There seems to be a sense of entitlement here, which is especially robust. We can’t leave our locations to go to the capital or see family but look at these people who appear to be doing what they like and most people will be raging at the predicament.
This is the worst case of selfishness I have seen in a long time, but it will catch up with them because they’ve given their names, contact details and bank details.
Perhaps the authorities should freeze their bank accounts so they can’t travel, then they will soon appear.
They’re putting so many people’s lives at risk, so should they pay heavily for this? Or would have you done the same thing?
Good old British exceptionalism right there – Rule Britannia, Britannia waives the rules.
But this story makes no sense.
How did they flee under the cover of darkness? On foot? Certainly not by bus and if they drove in their cars with UK plates they would have been picked up at the border.
The ski resort was taking a risk in the first place by being open for business during a pandemic and since Britain has had a high rate of infection for a long time, just letting its citizens visit in the first place was a mistake.
And everyone is going to have to make a difficult judgment call about whether human life and controlling a pandemic is more important than profit.
But it does sound a tad ridiculous at this point, to panic over a new strain of COVID – The strain we knew about and was killing people, but people are still taking holidays like it’s any other day.