Sixty-one folks from two flights from South Africa to the Netherlands have examined constructive for the coronavirus, Dutch well being officers stated early Saturday. It was unclear as of late morning native time if the circumstances had been linked to the newly found Omicron variant.
The well being officers examined 600 passengers who arrived on Friday morning at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. Those who examined damaging had been allowed to go away the airport and quarantine at dwelling.
When the Netherlands introduced its journey restrictions on flights from southern Africa, the 2 KLM flights had been already on their strategy to Schiphol. About half an hour earlier than the primary one landed, well being officers had been dispatched to the airport to conduct the checks there, stated Harm Groustra, a spokesman for the GGD, the Dutch public well being service.
One of the passengers caught on the tarmac was the New York Times reporter Stephanie Nolan, who had been in South Africa protecting the nation’s response to the pandemic.
“So I’m in my 3d hour on a tarmac at Schiphol,” she tweeted, after her flight from Johannesburg had landed. “While my flight from Jo’burg was somewhere over Chad, Europe went into variant panic; by the time we landed, we weren’t allowed off the plane.”
Many passengers had ignored masks necessities, she stated.
Dutch well being officers stated in an announcement that they had been conscious of frustration amongst passengers who thought that they had been allowed to go dwelling, however had been as an alternative “confronted with a situation like we’ve never had before in the Netherlands.”
Hugo de Jonge, the nation’s well being minister, tweeted that these with a constructive check had been being taken to a quarantine lodge close to the airport. “Now it’s important to research whether this concerns the Omicron variant,” he wrote.
People who examined constructive have to remain on the lodge for no less than seven days if they’ve signs, or for 5 days if they don’t, well being officers stated. Passengers who examined constructive and stay with individuals who had been on the flight can be allowed to spend their quarantine at dwelling.
Cases have been rising rapidly within the Netherlands, which yesterday introduced stricter measures to attempt to curb the unfold of the virus, together with a night lockdown that begins at 5 p.m. Last week, virtually 154,000 folks examined constructive, a 39 p.c improve from the week earlier than.
“The number of coronavirus infections has never been as high as in the past week,” the federal government stated on Friday, including that the caseload was vulnerable to overwhelming hospitals within the nation.
Jason Horowitz contributed reporting.