(Getty)
  • Hundreds of British tourists were put in quarantine as Swiss authorities sought to control the spread of the new coronavirus variant recently discovered in the UK.
  • More than 400 skiers who had arrived in Verbier, a popular resort in the Swiss Alps, were told to quarantine for 10 days from their arrival date on December 21.
  • Almost immediately, the British holidaymakers began to disappear. By Sunday, less than a dozen remained, according to German news outlet Deutsche Welle.
  • Hoteliers in the Alpine village realized something was wrong when meals were left outside rooms uneaten, and phones went unanswered.
  • "Many of them stayed in quarantine for a day before they set off unnoticed undercover in the darkness," said Jean-Marc Sandoz, spokesperson for the municipality of Bagnes in Canton Valais.
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Hundreds of British tourists secretly left a Swiss ski resort after the authorities told them to quarantine to stop the spread of the coronavirus's new variant.

Authorities in the Alpine village of Verbier, popular with British skiers, told holidaymakers that they had to quarantine for 10 days on December 21 if they had arrived in the resort from the UK since December 14. 

Quickly the instruction triggered a secret exodus of more than 400 holidaymakers, who had hoped to spend Christmas on the slopes. 50 left immediately, according to German news outlet Deutsche Welle, and by Sunday only a handful remained. 

In the mountain village, local hoteliers realized something was wrong when meals were left outside rooms uneaten and phones went unanswered by the British guests.

Some of the tourists later contacted the hotels to see if they still had to pay for their abandoned rooms, The Guardian reported.

"Many of them stayed in quarantine for a day before they set off unnoticed undercover in the darkness," said Jean-Marc Sandoz, spokesperson for the municipality of Bagnes in Canton Valais, which includes Verbier.

Due to fear of the highly transmissible coronavirus variant, there is now "xenophobic resentment" against British visitors whom were once welcomed in Verbier, reported the SonntagsZeitung.

Reports of the new contagious coronavirus strain have prompted panic in Europe and beyond.

The new variant of the virus, which might be up to 70% more transmissible, was first detected in the UK in September but had since spread rapidly.

As a result, some countries have closed their borders to UK travellers.