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Coronavirus: British tourist blamed for Lauberhorn ski race cancellation

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Coronavirus: British tourist blamed for Lauberhorn ski race cancellation


A British tourist has been blamed for a spike in coronavirus cases that led officials to cancel Switzerland's famous Lauberhorn ski race.

The resort of Wengen, where the race is held, had recorded only 10 cases of the virus by mid-December.

But the number soon began to rise and many cases have since been linked to the new highly infectious variant of Covid-19 first identified in the UK.

At least 27 cases are connected to one British tourist, contact tracers say.

The tourist stayed in a hotel in Wengen over the holiday period.

The Lauberhorn course is the longest downhill run in the world, and racers can reach speeds of 160km/h (100 mph).

Officials desperately tried to save the race, shutting schools and offering to close off the resort to everyone but the competitors.

Swiss health officials initially agreed with the plan, but a further jump in cases at the start of this week prompted them to pull the emergency brake and cancel the event.

Wengen is devastated. The Lauberhorn is one of the top competitions on the World Cup ski circuit. It is dearly loved by the Swiss, who have watched with delight as some of their own homegrown talent, such as Beat Feuz and Carlo Janka, have triumphed there.

Moreover, the long love affair between Switzerland and British winter tourists has frosted over to some extent.

It was only last month that the vanishing Brits of Verbier, who reportedly fled Switzerland rather than accept the government mandated quarantine, triggered a flurry of negative headlines.

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