Coronavirus: Parties blamed for outbreak as elite Swiss university orders 2,500 students to quarantine

Swiss authorities have ordered 2,500 students at an elite university to quarantine after off-campus parties led to “significant outbreaks”of COVID-19.

All undergraduates at 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 university, in the French-speaking Vaud region, is considered one of the top hospitality management schools in the world.

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A statement from officials said: “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 parties are thought to have taken place before new coronavirus containment measures in the region were announced on 15 September.

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

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

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

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.

The UK has already seen some universities forced to quarantine students.

At least 500 Dundee students were told to isolate after suspected COVID outbreak in halls of residence.

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