Quarantine couple are not facing court, public prosecutor says

Photo: Brandon Hartley
Photo: Brandon Hartley

The public prosecution department said on Tuesday afternoon that there is no question of a Spanish couple said to have ‘escaped’ from a quarantine hotel being taken to court for a fast track hearing.

Earlier, BNR radio said the couple would appear in court on Tuesday afternoon, but this is not the case, the department said in press statement.

Prosecution department officials are currently assessing if the procedures which resulted in the couple being put in an isolation room in a hospital in Haren were followed correctly.

‘On the basis of this, this public prosecutor’s office will decide whether a request for authorisation to continue the isolation will be submitted to the court,’ the department said.

The couple, a Spanish man and Portuguese woman, 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 amid fears some of them might be carrying the Omicron variant of the virus. Some 14 of the 61 are now known to have the new variant.

The couple have denied they would ‘knowingly endanger others’ and said they had no idea what the rules where, were given no information and denied another PCR test as an extra check. ‘The suggestion we escaped is ridiculous. We were treated like dogs,’ Caroline Pimenta told RTL Nieuws

More tests

According to Spanish newspaper El Periodico the couple left with the consent of health board and police officials at the hotel, and the hotel even called them a taxi to go to Schiphol.

The couple’s lawyer Bart Maes told RTL Nieuws that they had not committed any crimes and that subsequent coronavirus tests have been negative.

‘I have alerted the safety board to the fact that the coronavirus test was wrongly noted as positive,’ Maes said. ‘My client has tested negative three times since then and her friend has always been negative. There is no reason to keep this people any longer.’

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