SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19

Finger pointed at Swiss yodelling ‘superspreader’ concert

The coronavirus pandemic has not deterred the Swiss from sending yodels echoing across their mountain valleys, but a concert attended by 600 people is believed to have made one canton a European virus hotspot.

Finger pointed at Swiss yodelling 'superspreader' concert
Yodellers were among those infected at an event in Schwyz. Photo by AFP

At the late September yodelling event in the rural Schwyz canton, people in the audience were asked to maintain social distancing, but mask-wearing was not required.

“We can't do anything about what happened with this yodelling group. We found out nine days after the performances that several people from the group were infected,” event organiser Beat Hegner told RTS public television.

Now the pandemic has spread through the region, with 1,238 cases compared with just 500 in mid-September.

On Wednesday alone, 94 people tested positive, twice as many as the day before.

The overloaded cantonal hospital has asked people to begin wearing masks and avoiding gatherings.

“There's an extremely high rate of positive tests. We've gone from 30 to 50 percent,” hospital chief Franziska Foellmi said.

“It's time we reacted. The explosion in the number of cases in Schwyz is one of the worst in all of Europe,” chief doctor Reto Nueesch posted online.

Cantonal authorities have stepped up infection control measures, making mask-wearing compulsory at all public and private events with more than 50 people and in situations where distancing can't be maintained.

But people can still go to the shops without covering their nose and mouth.

Switzerland isn't the only country to practice yodelling, an age-old style of singing where the performer rapidly switches between registers.

It's also practised in Austria's Tyrol region and in variant forms across the mountains of central Europe, from Poland to Romania.

Like archery, wrestling and the Alpine games, yodelling has been one of the building-blocks of common identity between Switzerland's culturally disparate regions since the 19th century. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

COVID-19

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?

SHOW COMMENTS