2,500 students at elite Swiss school in quarantine after ‘off-campus partying’

Swiss health authorities have ordered a quarantine for 2,500 students at a prestigious hospitality management school in the city of Lausanne after “significant outbreaks” of Covid-19 that are a suspected result of off-campus partying.

Authorities in Switzerland’s Vaud region said all undergraduates at the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne (Lausanne Hospitality Management University) have been ordered to quarantine, both on and off-campus, because the number of outbreaks “made a more targeted closure impossible”.

The World Health Organisation, national health authorities and others have cautioned that young people, who tend to have milder Covid-19 symptoms than older groups, have been a key driver for the continued spread of coronavirus in recent weeks, particularly in Europe.

<figcaption class='imgFCap'>(PA Graphics)</figcaption>
(PA Graphics)

“The earliest elements of an investigation indicate that the organisation of one or more parties was at the origin of these many outbreaks of infection,” the Vaud regional office said in a statement, adding that the parties seemed to take place before new containment measures in the region were announced on September 15.

School administrators are taking “all necessary measures” to ensure classes continue online, the statement said.

University spokesman Sherif Mamdouh said the situation is “not ideal” but the university had taken precautions in recent months.

He said 11 students had tested positive for coronavirus but none required hospital treatment.

Mr Mamdouh said the quarantine affects 2,500 undergraduates. The university has a total student body of about 3,500, including people pursuing advanced degrees.

He said hundreds of students living in dormitories on campus will be subject to the quarantine.