A yodeling concert attended by 600 die-hard fans in Switzerland is being blamed for what could be Europe’s worst coronavirus “supercluster.”
Experts now believe the special “musical” – held in the rural Schwyz canton region in late September – is responsible for a surge in COVID-19 cases in the area.
The region has confirmed 1,238 cases – more than double the 500 confirmed in mid-September.
On Wednesday alone, 94 people tested positive, twice as many as the day before.
The event asked attendees to respect social distancing guidelines – but it was not compulsory to wear face masks.
Event organizer Beat Hegner told RTS public television: “We can’t do anything about what happened with this yodeling group.
“We found out nine days after the performances that several people from the group were infected,”
The canton has become Switzerland’s worst COVID zone, with an infection rate of 408 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Hospital chief Franziska Foellmi said: “There’s an extremely high rate of positive tests.
“It’s time we reacted. The explosion in the number of cases in Schwyz is one of the worst in all of Europe,” chief doctor Reto Nueesch posted online.
In a video message, he said: “It’s time for you, the population, to react. Wear masks, don’t party anymore.”
Switzerland people registered 2,600 new cases on Thursday – the highest daily number since the start of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the proportion of positive cases jumped from 5.4 to 10.2 percent in the past week.
And stopping short of a ban on yodeling, authorities have ramped up rules, including making mask-wearing compulsory at all public and private events with more than 50 people and in situations where distancing can’t be maintained.
Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga warned that a full-blown second wave was looming.
“It is five minutes to midnight,” she told reporters, urging everyone in the country to take precautions.