Swiss authorities have ordered 2,500 students at the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne to be quarantined over a coronavirus outbreak allegedly related to an off-campus party.
All students at the elite hotel management school in the Vaud region, Switzerland, have been instructed to isolate themselves in their rooms, including off campus.
"Significant outbreaks of infection have occurred at several levels of education, making a more targeted closure impossible than the one with 2,500 students," said a statement by the Vaudois regional office.
"Students have to stay at home until September 28th."
The Swiss authorities have ordered 2,500 students at the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne to quarantine themselves due to a coronavirus outbreak (employees in face masks on campus who set up social distancing markers according to the quarantine rules).
The statement said an early investigation revealed that "one or more parties were responsible for these many outbreaks."
Local authorities repeated a call to party-goers to demonstrate “responsible behavior” by wearing masks, practicing social distancing, tracking their contacts and being alert to symptoms of Covid-19.
Ines Blal, the university's executive dean, said the administrators had warned students not to hold parties at the beginning of the semester, including off-campus and outside the school's authority.
She said a "disciplinary investigation" was ongoing.
However, the school had already prepared for “worst-case scenarios” in recent months by putting courses online and introducing distance learning programs.
University spokesman Sherif Mamdouh said 11 students had tested positive for coronavirus in connection with the outbreak so far, but no hospitalization was required.
Mamdouh said only 67 of the quarantined students live on campus, with others nearby.
All students at the elite school for hotel management (picture) in the Vaud region (Switzerland) have been instructed to isolate themselves in their rooms, including outside the campus
The quarantine only runs until Monday, as the Swiss authorities have taken into account a possible 14-day incubation period for viruses since the beginning of the semester break this month (students who run on campus after the introduction of the quarantine rules)
The university has around 3,500 students in total, including those who are pursuing an advanced degree.
It is consistently considered the best hotel school in the world and trains students whose goal is to achieve a career as a manager in the hotel and hotel industry.
There are currently students from 121 countries as students from all over the world gather to enroll for its courses.
Mamdouh said the quarantine only runs until Monday as Swiss authorities have taken into account a possible 14-day incubation period for viruses since the parties started this month.
He couldn't explain why faculty members or doctoral students weren't included in the quarantine order, but said it was a decision by the cantonal authorities.
They were not immediately available for comments.
Switzerland is not alone when it comes to an increase in the number of viruses among schoolchildren at the beginning of school.
The World Health Organization, national health authorities and others have indicated that young people have been a major driver of the further spread of the coronavirus in several countries in recent weeks.
Faculty members or doctoral students were not included in the quarantine order, but said it was a decision by the cantonal authorities
The University of Glasgow in Scotland said earlier today that over 600 of its students had to self-isolate after 124 reported cases in "two significant clusters" in separate dormitories.
The university believed the outbreak was largely due to social activities in mid-September during freshman week – when new students arrived and socialized.
None of the infected students need hospital treatment, stressing that anyone who violates coronavirus restrictions can be kicked out of the dormitory or suspended.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC the outbreak was worrying, saying "the more young people get it, the more they spread it to the elderly."
The latest government figures in France also show that 22 percent of the country's currently active virus clusters originated in schools and universities.
The United States also had clusters associated with students.
The Danish Minister of Education has asked parents and schools to cancel all social events, including camps and birthday parties.
World Health Organization spokeswoman Margaret Harris said while it was "unfair to do it only to young people," it was also not surprising that teenagers and young adults could assume they shouldn't worry about the virus to succumb.
"Perceptions suggest they don't feel as at risk as older groups," Harris said, especially after data showing younger people tend to have less severe cases of COVID-19.
The message they heard is, "You are out of jail, go out and play," she said.
"We don't want to be the fun police force, but we want people to have fun safely."
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