Two Swiss high school classes quarantined over coronavirus

Two high school classes and their teachers have been quarantined in Switzerland after a student tested positive for the deadly new coronavirus, regional authorities said on Sunday.

Two Swiss high school classes quarantined over coronavirus
Illustration photo: AFP

The move at the Bienne technical high school marks the first measures against COVID-19 that affect a school in Switzerland, where over 20 people have tested positive since a first case emerged less than a week ago.

Authorities in the canton of Bern, where the school is located, said Saturday that a 21-year-old woman had been found to have the virus, after she returned from a trip to Milano in Italy, which has been hard-hit by the 

As a result, two classes had been placed in quarantine for the next 15 days, authorities said Sunday.

According to the ATS news agency, 45 students and nine teachers were affected.

A luxury resort hotel in Bad Ragaz in St Gallen has also ordered five employees into quarantine after they came into close contact with a person who tested positive in Zurich, the Blick daily reported Sunday.

Switzerland's confirmed cases of COVID-19 are spread across 12 cantons, including five cases in international hub Geneva.

So far, no transmission has been detected in Switzerland, with all those confirmed to have the virus in the country apparently infected in Italy, which has clocked more than 1,000 infections and 29 deaths.

In a bid to rein in the spread, Switzerland on Friday suspended all events with more than 1,000 participants until March 15, forcing the cancellation of the Geneva International Motor Show.

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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?