Alpine resorts offer mass Covid tests to stem new outbreaks 

Popular ski resorts are likely to see a lot of people mixing especially during the school holidays. Keystone / Leandre Duggan

The western Swiss canton of Vaud has become the latest to launch mass Covid-19 testing, with a pilot scheme in its three biggest ski resorts. 

This content was published on February 5, 2021 - 12:43

Starting on Friday, the canton is offering free, voluntary testing in the run-up to a week of school holidays starting February 20. The campaign kicks off in the resort of Villars-sur-Ollon (which by 4PM had done almost 400 tests, four of which were positive), and will then come to Les Diablerets and Leysin.  Tests are being offered to anyone over 12 years of age, including non-residents. 

The aim is to “save the end of the ski season”, according to Vaud authorities, and to avoid coronavirus clusters as happened in Verbier in December. Verbier is in neighbouring canton Valais, which is expected to follow suit with testing.  

Switzerland has kept its ski resorts open despite the pandemic and despite this causing tension with some neighbouring countries. 

Ski resorts have been targeted because “they are going to see a lot of mixing of people in the next few weeks”, Vaud government leader Nuria Gorrite told public broadcaster RTS on Thursday. “We want to avoid the virus being transported from one place to another. What the resorts need least is to become national clusters!” 

Other regions and ski resorts have already introduced similar measures. These include the southeastern canton of Graubunden and the resort of Wengen in canton Bern, where the iconic Lauberhorn ski race had to be cancelledExternal link because of coronavirus fears.   

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