Dutch health officials said earlier Saturday that 61 people on two flights from South Africa to the Netherlands tested positive for the coronavirus. It was unknown at midnight local time whether the case was associated with the newly discovered Omicron variant.
Health officials tested 600 passengers arriving at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on Friday morning. Those who tested negative were allowed to leave the airport and quarantine at home.
The two KLM Royal Dutch Airlines were already on their way to Schiphol when the Netherlands announced a travel ban on flights from southern Africa. Harm Groustra, a spokesman for GGD, a Dutch public health service, said health officials were dispatched to the airport to test about 30 minutes before the first landing.
One of the passengers stuck at the tarmac was New York Times reporter Stephanie Nolan, who was in South Africa to report on the country’s response to the pandemic.
“So I’m three hours at Squipole’s tarmac.” She tweeted, After her flight from Johannesburg landed. “My flight from Johannesburg was somewhere in Chad, but Europe panicked. I wasn’t allowed to get off the plane by the time I landed.”
She said many passengers ignored the mask requirements.
In a statement, Dutch health officials acknowledged the dissatisfaction of passengers who thought they were allowed to return, but instead said they “faced an unprecedented situation in the Netherlands.”
National Health Minister, Hu Ge de Jongge, Tweet Those with a positive test were taken to a quarantine hotel near the airport. “Now it’s important to investigate whether this is related to the Omicron variant,” he writes.
Health officials say that people who test positive should stay in the hotel for at least 7 days if they have symptoms and 5 days if they have no symptoms. Passengers who have a positive test result and live with the person on board can be quarantined at home.
In the Netherlands, more stringent measures have been announced to curb the spread of the virus, such as the evening blockade starting at 5 pm yesterday, and the number of cases is increasing rapidly. Approximately 154,000 people were positive in the test, an increase of 39% from the previous week. ..
“The number of coronavirus infections wasn’t as high as last week,” the government said on Friday, adding that the number of cases risks overwhelming hospitals in the country.
Jason Horowitz Contribution report.