Infected Tourist Blamed After Top Ski Race Axed

Visitor linked to 27 cases in Swiss resort
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 13, 2021 3:01 PM CST
Infected Tourist Blamed After Top Ski Race Axed
'The aim was to prevent the virus from circulating in an uncontrolled way during the Lauberhorn races and thus endangering the participating athletes and officials as well as the local population,' organizers said.   (Getty Images/perreten)

Switzerland's most prestigious ski race has been canceled, and authorities are blaming a British tourist. The Lauberhorn, the longest World Cup downhill race, was called off after a spike in COVID-19 cases, reports Reuters. Authorities in the resort of Wengen say only 10 COVID cases were detected up until mid-December, but another 60 cases recorded since then, with at least 27 of them linked to the infected tourist, who stayed in a local hotel over the holidays. The race and two others scheduled over the Jan. 15-17 weekend, which usually draw tens of thousands of spectators, were given the green light Sunday but health authorities reversed the decision the next day, SwissInfo reports.

"The cancellation of one of the most prestigious race weekends in the World Cup calendar makes the heart of every ski fan bleed," said Bernhard Aregger, CEO of Swiss-Ski. "However, it is our job to ensure the safety of everyone involved." Authorities have tightened restrictions across the country to try to stop the spread of the new and more infectious coronavirus variant first detected in Britain. The postponed Lauberhorn race will now be held in Austria. The BBC notes that the country is "Switzerland's oldest and fiercest skiing rival," and "nothing could have been calculated to upset the Swiss more." (At another Swiss resort, hundreds of British tourists fled overnight to dodge a quarantine order.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.