Switzerland sends 2,500 students into quarantine after hotel school COVID outbreak

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland has quarantined the entire undergraduate body of one of its premier hospitality management schools just days after their return from summer recess, regional officials said on Wednesday, following a COVID-19 outbreak linked to one or more parties.

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All 2,500 undergraduate students at the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne must remain in their housing, including on-campus accommodation, until Sept. 28, authorities for the canton of Vaud said in a statement.

That followed a number of major outbreaks among the student body which had made it impossible to trace which students had came into contact with the virus.

The festivities Swiss authorities believe to be the origin of the school’s outbreak had been held before Vaud, which has recorded more infections than any other Swiss canton, introduced stricter measures on Sept. 17.

Those included the closure of night clubs and a ban on private events of more than 100 people, as well as mandatory mask-wearing in public locations indoors.

Like many European countries, Switzerland has seen a resurgence of cases since lockdown measures were eased and some international travel resumed over the summer months.

Cases since the start of the epidemic recently surpassed 50,000. here

At roughly 33 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last week, it remains less affected than a number of nearby countries currently at or nearer their peak.

It has taken a regional approach on many precautionary measures, leaving cantonal authorities free to impose them as deemed fit.

Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne said it was working with regional medical authorities to support the affected students, who thus far had only reported minor symptoms, and would continue teaching remotely throughout the quarantine period.

“Important measures have been put in place on campus to ensure the highest health standards and to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible,” it said in an emailed statement.

It said disciplinary measures had been taken against the students who had organised the privately held parties.

Reporting by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi; Editing by Jan Harvey