Passengers on two KLM flights from South Africa stuck at Schiphol
Passengers of two KLM flights that landed at Schiphol from South Africa on Friday morning are stuck on the plane at the airport. They are being tested for the coronavirus in connection with the new, presumably more contagious variant discovered in the southern part of Africa.
The GGD Kennemerland is responsible for testing passengers at Schiphol. They will all get a PCR test at the airport, a spokesperson said. The GGD will analyze the tests as soon as possible. Everyone is expected to be tested by 4:30 p.m., and the results will be available around 8:30 p.m. tonight.
In the meantime, the passengers will be kept separate from other people at Schiphol. The airport is in the process of setting up "a temporary reception location on airside, so in the secured area," a spokesperson said. Once that is done, the spokesperson estimates "a few hundred passengers" will be allowed to disembark and be accommodated there.
One of the flights landed in Amsterdam around 10:30 a.m. from Cape town. The other flight landed half an hour later from Johannesburg. It is unknown how many travelers are on board the flights.
On Friday morning, caretaker Health Minister Hugo de Jonge announced that the Netherlands would ban flights from southern Africa from noon on Friday. A new coronavirus variant was discovered in the part of the content that is "a cause for concern," according to De Jonge, but it is still unclear how much.
Botswana, Eswatini (Swaziland), Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa have been added to the list of very high-risk countries. De Jonge said on Friday morning that passengers from these countries will be tested at Schiphol and must be quarantined.
Reporting by ANP.