Dutch arrest coronavirus couple on plane trying to flee to Spain

The Ramada hotel in Badhoevedorp, where the coronavirus patients are staying. Photo: Sem van der Wal ANP
The hotel in Badhoevedorp, where the coronavirus patients are staying. Photo: Sem van der Wal ANP

A couple who had been put into quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus at Schiphol have been picked up at the airport again after trying to leave the country.

The couple, a Spanish man and Portuguese woman according to Dutch media, arrived in the Netherlands on Friday on one of two flights from South Africa. Everyone on the flights was tested for coronavirus and 61 out of 624 people on board were positive.

The people with confirmed coronavirus and their partners were taken to the hotel near the airport where they were placed in quarantine. But the couple managed to make their way from the airport back to Schiphol, where border police found them on board a plane which was about to leave for Spain.

They were taken off the plane and handed over to the regional health authorities, the border police said in a social media statement.

The hotel where they were staying has declined to comment on how the two managed to escape. The hotel has both private security inside and police patrols outside.

The public prosecution department has not yet said if the two will face criminal charges.

Police have not said if the couple – according to one source just one of them has coronavirus – have the new variant named Omicron. So far health officials have confirmed at least 13 people on the flights had the new variant, which may be far more infectious than Delta, the current dominant strain.

The rules for flying to the Netherlands from South Africa have since been tightened up, and everyone must now show a negative PCR test to board.

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