Some 2,000 people, including 1,600 children, were placed in quarantine after the discovery of two cases of the Omicron variant on one of the campuses of the renowned International School of Geneva.
"These two cases are in close intrafamilial connection with a positive person returning from trip from South Africa", indicated the health services of the canton of Vaud - where the campus is located - and that of Geneva in a joint statement.
According to the authorities, "this is the first measure of this magnitude" since the proven presence of Omicron - but still reduced to a handful of cases - in Switzerland this week.
“We have never yet observed any contamination in the Geneva or Vaud territories.
This element requires us today, as a precautionary principle, to decide on strong measures ”, specify the authorities.
“It is essential to slow down the introduction of the variant in our territory.
When identified, it is also essential to reduce transmission in Switzerland as much as possible ”, they add.
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The quarantine is 10 days and students as teachers at the Châtaigneraie campus, located near Geneva, will have to take a PCR test.
This campus accommodates primary and secondary schools.
Their families will also need to be screened for the Omicron variant first reported in southern Africa at the end of November and detected since in dozens of countries.
A prestigious establishment
Scientists still know little about this variant, in terms of contagiousness or severity, but an unusually high number of mutations in a crucial part of the virus is worrying.
The International School of Geneva (Ecolint) was founded in 1924 by officials of the International Labor Office and the League of Nations.
It is one of the most prestigious establishments in the region, which prides itself on tailor-made education centered on human values.
School fees range from a little over 20,000 to over 35,000 francs (33,600 euros) per year.
It has a total of some 4,450 students, according to its website, including children of officials from many UN agencies in Geneva.