Switzerland: 280 forced into isolation after alleged ‘coronavirus superspreader attends party’

Party organisers are considering taking legal action after a person attended a private party despite allegedly knowing she had coronavirus, forcing almost 300 people into quarantine.

Switzerland: 280 forced into isolation after alleged 'coronavirus superspreader attends party'
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The management of the Parktheater in Solothurn said it was considering suing the attendee who reportedly attended a private party at the venue in late June despite knowingly being infected with the coronavirus, Swiss media is reporting. 

After the incident, 280 people were forced into isolation – including members of the club’s staff.

Swiss tabloid Blick reported late on Monday that all who attended the party in late June were forced into a ten-day quarantine.

The newspaper reports that the infected woman, as well as several other attendees, later moved on to the Joker Club, risking further infections.

Q&A: What travellers to Switzerland should know about the new 10-day quarantine rule

As a result of the incident, all parties have been cancelled in the city of Grenchen.

‘I am incredibly angry – what audacity’

Thomas Vogt, Chairman of the Parktheater, said the management of the venue was incensed and was considering taking legal action against the woman in question.

“It makes me incredibly angry. What audacity”, Vogt said.

“Our employees are also affected, they too have to be quarantined. That is why we will examine legal steps.

“We have carefully implemented all measures. The police commander assured us that we did everything right. The party was approved because it was held outdoors and the distance could be kept.”

'ID and a functioning phone': These new rules will apply in Zurich nightclubs as of Friday 

Cantonal authorities have also confirmed they are looking at criminal law avenues to take against the woman.

In Switzerland, nightclubs and private parties are allowed to accept up to 300 guests, provided personal contact information is recorded so attendees can be contacted if an infection is detected.

Anyone who has a positive coronavirus diagnosis, as well as anyone with symptoms, is forbidden from attending public events.

In Switzerland, negligent breaching of coronavirus rules can attract a fine of up to CHF5,000 – while intentionally doing so attracts a maximum fine of CHF10,000.

Nightlife venues under scrutiny

It is the latest in a series of ‘superspreader’ events at Swiss nightclubs which have forced hundreds of people into quarantines across the country.

On Sunday, June 29th, Swiss authorities announced the temporary closure of Zurich’s Flamingo Club after a ‘superspreader’ event led to several positive coronavirus tests and required 300 people to quarantine.

News has now emerged of several further outbreaks at Swiss bars and nightclubs, with patrons receiving messages that they may be infected, with some being told to quarantine.

On Wednesday, Swiss media reported that revellers who attended Zurich’s Plaza Club on June 26th that they “may have had contact with a person suffering from Covid-19”.

A text message from the cantonal medical service told attendees “it cannot be ruled out that they were exposed to the new corona virus and infected.”

Partygoers were not forced to quarantine, but were told to avoid crowds and contact a doctor if they had symptoms.

Attendees at Terminus in Olten, Solothurn on Saturday, June 27th have been asked to quarantine after a case of coronavirus was confirmed.

The club wrote on Facebook that an attendee had tested positive.

Owner Dušan Nedeljković told 20 Minutes: “We were of course shaken by this news. You don't want any reports about positive corona tests – and certainly not if it affects a visitor to your own establishment”.

The news of the outbreaks came just one day after two further outbreaks were detected in Zurich and in the neighbouring canton of Aargau.

In addition, 20 people have tested positive among 100 attendees at the Tesla Bar in Spreitenbach.


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Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I’m abroad?

Given how expensive health insurance premiums are in Switzerland, you may be tempted to suspend your policy while you are abroad. Is this possible?

Reader question: Can I put my Swiss health insurance on hold if I'm abroad?

Unlike the obligatory car insurance, which you can suspend temporarily by depositing your registration plates at the local motor vehicles office, rules pertaining to health insurance are much stricter.

As the Federal Office of Public Health explains it, “If you leave the country for a certain period to travel or study but do not take up residence abroad, you are still required to have [health] insurance in Switzerland”.

In other words, as long as you are a registered resident of Switzerland, regardless of your nationality or passport, you must keep your compulsory Swiss health insurance and pay your premiums. While you do this, you also remain covered against most medical emergencies while you travel.

However, rules are less stringent for supplemental health plans which can, in some cases, be put on hold, depending on the insurance provider, according to Switzerland’s Moneyland consumer website.

The only exception allowed for suspending the health insurance coverage is during a military or civil protection service which lasts more than 60 consecutive days.

“During these periods, the risks of illness and accident are covered by military insurance. Your health insurance provider will refund your premiums”, according to FOPH.

Under what circumstances can you cancel your Swiss health insurance?

Swiss law says you can cancel your insurance if you are moving abroad, either permanently for for a period exceeding three months.

If you do so, only claims for treatments given while you still lived in Switzerland will be paid by your insurance; any medical bills for treatment incurred after you officially leave will be denied.

These are the procedures for cancelling your compulsory health insurance if you leave the country under conditions mentioned above

To announce your departure abroad, you must send your insurance carrier a letter including your name, customer number or AVS/AHV number.

You must also include a certificate from your place of residence in Switzerland confirming that you have de-registered from your current address, as well as the date of your departure.

Note, however, that if your new destination is another Swiss community / canton, rather than a foreign country, your insurance can only be cancelled from the following calendar year and only if you present proof of having taken up a new policy with another company.

READ MORE: EXPLAINED: How to register your address in Switzerland

You can find out more information about this process here

If you suspend your health insurance for less than six years, you can reactivate it at a later date with the same company when you return to Switzerland.

READ MORE : What you should know about your Swiss health insurance before you go abroad