‘Superspreader wedding’ shocks Swiss authorities

Just sued? The authorities are considering pressing charges but said an exact reconstruction of events was difficult Keystone

The bride and groom at a wedding in northeastern Switzerland reportedly knew that some guests had symptoms of Covid-19 but did not inform the authorities. What’s more, guests agreed among themselves not to get tested in order to not have to go into quarantine.

This content was published on October 27, 2020 - 12:17

Canton Appenzell Outer Rhodes currently has five times as many Covid-19 infections per 100,000 inhabitants as Germany. One reason is thought to be a wedding in the village of Schwellbrunn on October 10 which was attended by more than 200 people.

Some guests arrived with coronavirus symptoms and the bridal couple were aware of these cases, said cantonal health director Yves Noël Balmer at a media conference. However, the authorities were not informed and only learnt about it two weeks later by chance, Swiss public radio, SRF, reported on MondayExternal link.

Investigations revealed that the guests had agreed among themselves not to get tested in order to avoid a possible quarantine, Balmer said.

Several wedding guests later attended an Oktoberfest party and took part in other local activities. It’s a fair assumption that more people were infected there, he said, adding that many of these people had known about the events at the wedding but had not told the cantonal authorities.

Legal consequences

Since Monday masks have been compulsory in Appenzell Outer Rhodes in offices and in the outdoor areas of publicly accessible institutions. Private events are limited to 15 people and requirements for the catering industry have also been tightened.

“We’re irritated and shocked,” Balmer said. “We’re investing millions in coping with this crisis, and then a group of people just goes and breaks all the rules.”

The canton said it was considering pressing charges, but Balmer said an exact reconstruction of events was difficult.

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