Covid: ‘Chaos’ at Amsterdam airport as travellers from South Africa test positive

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Sixty people who arrived in the Netherlands on two flights from South Africa have tested positive for COVID-19.

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The flights arriving yesterday departed from Johannesburg and Cape Town for Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport.

Both flights came shortly after the Dutch government and other countries around the world banned flights to southern African countries.


The passengers who tested positive for the virus are in isolation, and further tests are underway to establish whether any of them have contracted the new Omicron variant that was first discovered in southern Africa.

To the concern of health professionals, the Omicron variant has spread rapidly among young people in South Africa, in just two weeks.

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The current testing and isolation operation at Schiphol airport is being overseen by the Kennermerland local health authority, who said on Saturday that passengers who have tested positive for the virus will have to be quarantined for seven days if they are symptomatic. , and five if they are not.

539 passengers who tested negative were able to return home or continue their journey. Current Dutch government guidelines allow those living in the Netherlands to return home and self-isolate for at least five days.

In Germany, an official said that there was a “high probability” that the new Omicron version had already arrived in the country. Hesse state health minister, Kai Klos, tweeted that a passenger returning from South Africa was found to have “multiple mutations specific to Omicron” on Friday night.

British travelers reported scenes of “chaos” at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport on Friday. About 150 passengers on a KLM flight say they were kept on the tarmac for four hours before moving to a holding area inside the terminal building.

One, Ron Stromberg, said: “We were hoping to go back to the UK via Amsterdam last night, we had to land at 10 and then take another flight to Manchester an hour or so later.”

“We should have been in Manchester three or four hours ago. We’re not, and we don’t know what’s going on.”

Some travelers have reported being given little information and only one sandwich to eat during the eight hours.

Fellow passenger James, 29, a business consultant in Amsterdam, said that despite the change in the rules, he thought it “would be okay” given that they were already on the plane, adding that “the rules came in the afternoon, but we were in the hours.” First off then in. Instead, now we’re here for three hours waiting for our tests.

“There hasn’t been any communication on what’s actually happening. Obviously it had to start with KLM running it, now it’s just the airport that has to run it, the government, the local health people – and any of them Don’t know who is in charge,” he said.


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