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Swiss authorities have started mass testing residents and visitors in St Moritz after a new variant of the coronavirus it was detected in the exclusive ski resort.

People were asked to register online and attend free trials at a local gym and beverage store on Tuesday, after two luxury hotels were quarantined on Monday.

All schools, kindergartens and ski schools were closed.

Exterior view of the Badrutt’s Palace hotel in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where authorities say a new variant of the coronavirus has been detected. (AP)
The Kempinski Hotel with police guards in front is shown in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Monday, January 18, 2021. Swiss authorities say they quarantined two hotels and ordered all guests and employees to undergo tests after a new variant of the coronavirus was detected. detected among them in the exclusive ski resort of St. Moritz. (AP)

Authorities said at least two dozen cases were detected at the two hotels, which local media identified as the Palace and the Kempinski hotel.

The Kempinski said late Monday that health authorities had confirmed cases of the mutated coronavirus among hotel employees.

“Local health officials have ordered all hotel guests and staff to be quarantined to minimize public exposure,” a Kempinski spokeswoman told The Associated Press.

“The hotel strictly follows the advice of local health authorities and the guidelines of the World Health Organization.”

A sign pointing to a COVID-19 testing center in Switzerland. The majority of British tourists are said to have left ski resorts after the Swiss government introduced COVID-19 quarantine restrictions on December 21 due to a new variant of the coronavirus found in the UK. (Getty)
People queue for their last day of shopping in front of a clothing store on January 16, 2021 in Geneva before a new set of lockdown measures goes into effect to control the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak on 21 January. January, until the end of February. (AFP via Getty Images)
All the people in St. Moritz Those who are five years old or older were asked to participate in the test, which was voluntary.

Swiss media reported that the variant detected in St. Moritz was found for the first time in South Africa.

The new strain comes as Switzerland has closed non-essential shops, restaurants and sports facilities until the end of February in a move to drastically reduce coronavirus infections.

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