61 out of 600 passengers from South Africa test positive for coronavirus
Out of 600 passengers on two KLM planes that returned to South Africa on Friday, 61 people have tested positive for the coronavirus. It is not yet known whether they are infected with the new Omicron variant. Earlier in the day, the GGD assumed that 85 passengers would receive a positive result. The GGD had made the estimate after receiving the results of 110 coronavirus tests, 15 of which were positive.
The infected people are housed in a guarded isolation hotel at or near Schiphol. They stay there for at least seven days if they have complaints and five days if they have no complaints. Anyone who receives a negative test result must be quarantined at home for five days after they must undergo a further test.
On Friday morning, the Ministry of Health ordered the GGD Kennemerland to test the passengers of two flights from South Africa for the coronavirus. Testing sites were set up at Schiphol for this purpose.
One of the affected travelers told Radio 1 that the situation was "degrading." According to the traveler, 20 blankets were supplied for hundreds of travelers and food and drinks were not properly arranged.
The GGD said they understand the possible frustration among passengers. "People have had a long journey and live until they have landed under the assumption that they will be home in a short while," the GGD wrote. "Instead, they are confronted with a situation such as we have never experienced before in the Netherlands."
The passengers from the two aircrafts, which landed shortly after each other, were kept separate from other people at Schiphol. One flight came from Cape Town and landed at Schiphol around 10:30 a.m. on Friday. The other flight, from Johannesburg, arrived there around 11 a.m.
The GGD asked all travelers that arrived from southern Africa since last Monday to get tested as soon as possible. This concerns passengers from Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia. A travel ban has been in place since Friday for non-EU passengers from these countries. Dutch citizens can still return from southern Africa.
Reporting by ANP