- Title: Doctors seek quarantine for virus-hit Swiss ski hot spot Verbier
- Date: 23rd March 2020
- Summary: VERBIER, SWITZERLAND (MARCH 23, 2020) (REUTERS) VIEW OF VERBIER / CABLE CAR ENTRANCE SIGN READING (English) "VERBIER 1531M" VERBIER STREETS VARIOUS OF DOCTOR IN VERBIER, SABINE POPESCU WORKING AT HER DESK SANITIZING SOLUTION AND DEVICE TO CHECK EARS ON POPESCU'S DESK POPESCU WALKING OUT OF HER OFFICE (SOUNDBITE) (French) DOCTOR AT A MEDICAL OFFICE IN VERBIER, SABINE POPESCU, SAYING: "People are coming thinking they will be safer in the mountains, now we must get the idea that this is over, Verbier needs to be in confinement. We even need to get the valley in confinement, because now, my colleagues also have - for example in Sembrancher (small town near Verbier) - they have cases everywhere, in all the small towns nearby." VIEW OF TOWN BUILDINGS NEAR VERBIER / STREET OF VERBIER WITH POLICE CAR PLAYGROUND AND SKATING RINK CLOSED SWISS FLAG FLYING MEDICAL WORKER ENTERING MEDICAL OFFICE DOCTOR AT A MEDICAL OFFICE IN VERBIER, HICHAM EL GHAOUI WALKING OUT OF HIS OFFICE (SOUNDBITE) (French) DOCTOR AT A MEDICAL OFFICE IN VERBIER, HICHAM EL GHAOUI, SAYING: "It's not really about how many people are infected, I would say, in Verbier, if I want to give a rough estimation, I would say 60 percent of Verbier is infected. But it is the number of patients that are getting worse and rapidly that is worrying us. And this is what is also worrying Sion and Martigny (cities where nearest hospitals are), the hospitals because they will end up being overwhelmed." VARIOUS OF EMPTY PARKING WITH MOUNTAINS IN BACKGROUND EMPTY STREETS SCREEN READING (French) "WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE QUARANTINE MEASURES?" AND PICTURE OF VIRUS WITH SIGN READING (French) "IT IS A NEW VIRUS" (SOUNDBITE) (French) DOCTOR AT A MEDICAL OFFICE IN VERBIER, HICHAM EL GHAOUI, SAYING: "As soon as Milan was put in confinement, strangely, a lot of Italians came to take refuge here. So, should we have closed the borders at that moment? This is not our job as doctors, but the explanation is that in this melting pot, people come from everywhere and also, people come here to this resort to have fun, not to get in confinement. So, people will continue to go out and have a drink, there are some bars here where we tested and almost 100 percent of the employees were infected." VARIOUS OF CHALET WHERE PARIS RESIDENT RETIRED FROM COMPUTER SCIENCE JOB, ALEXIE MAFFRE IS STAYING ALEXIE MAFFRE OPENING THE DOOR AND GOING INTO THE KITCHEN FOOD ON COUNTER (SOUNDBITE) (French) PARIS RESIDENT RETIRED FROM COMPUTER SCIENCE JOB, ALEXIE MAFFRE, SAYING: "I'm not an anxious person, I don't usually buy groceries, so I bought some frozen meals, a little bit of chicken, ready meals, to survive two or three days if I'm sick actually. It's more for this purpose, but La Migro (supermarket chain in Switzerland) will still be open I think, and I could still buy groceries. I don't need food at industrial quantities. What will be missing is more fresh products and I usually buy vacuum food rather than other products. So, here I have "rosti", Swiss national meal, a lot of coffee, here we go, it's not going very far, butâ€¦" FOOD ON KITCHEN TABLE VARIOUS OF SKI RENTAL SHOP CLOSED WITH SIGN READING (French) "OUR SHOP IS CLOSED, THANK YOU FOR UNDERSTANDING" EMPTY STREET (SOUNDBITE) (French) OWNER OF ELECTRICAL COMPANY IN VERBIER, DANIEL ROSERENS, SAYING: "It is true, I don't think we did the maximum to avoid all these cases of coronavirus, especially during the holiday period for Italians. Two weeks ago I found myself in cable cars, tight against each other, with people speaking Italian, so here, I think a little something was missing, maybe stopping the Italians? We like them when they are not sick, but here, there are risks of the virus spreading, in cable cars or in bars if they went to have a drink at night. Here is my concern." VARIOUS OF CLOSED SHOP WITH SIGN READING (English) "CLOSING OF OUR COUNTERS, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RESTRICTIONS DECIDED BY THE STATE COUNCIL AND THE DECREE OF THE 'STATE OF EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES, WE INFORM THAT OUR COUNTERS ARE CLOSED FROM 16.03.2020 AND UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE" VARIOUS OF CHALET WITH SWISS FLAG
- Keywords: China Coronavirus Covid-19 Italy Switzerland Verbier WHO Wuhan outbreak virus
- Reuters ID: LVA001C69Y3PJ
- Location: VERBIER, SWITZERLAND
- City: VERBIER, SWITZERLAND
- Country: Switzerland
- Duration: 00:05:36
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Topics: Health/Medicine
- Story Text: Swiss doctors in the wealthy ski town of Verbier are calling on authorities to seal it off from the rest of Switzerland, citing a surge in cases of the new coronavirus in recent weeks.
Verbier is a playground for the wealthy including the Danish royal family. Although international tourists have stopped coming due to the closure of ski lifts, visitors from Swiss cities like Geneva continue to weekend there, locals say, risking further spread.
Switzerland, wedged between badly affected neighbours Italy, France and Germany has more than 8,000 cases and has mobilised its army to help with the response.
Swiss RTS radio says that there is a cluster of 60 infected people in Val de Bagnes, Valais, which includes Verbier although the number of cases is thought to represent just a small portion of the total because those who tested positive have been sharing chalets, said local doctor Sabine Popescu.
"People are coming thinking they will be safer in the mountains, now we must get the idea that this is over, Verbier needs to be confined," she told Reuters on Monday (March 23).
Doctor Hicham El Ghaoui said that he thought the first cases probably came from Italy's Milan since many of its residents came to Verbier after it was placed under lockdown last month.
Valais canton health director Esther Waeber-Kalbermatten told a local paper she had written to the government in Berne to seek guidance, since quarantining a whole region is not allowed in Switzerland although it has happened in Austrian ski resorts.
Daniel Koch, head of the Federal Office of Health's communicable diseases division, confirmed he was in talks with cantonal authorities but no decision has been taken.
(Production: Cecile Mantovani, Andrew Ragg, Aiden Nulty)
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