Couple arrested at Schiphol for escaping quarantine hotel
The Koninklijke Marechaussee arrested a couple at Schiphol on Sunday after they fled the quarantine hotel. The couple was arrested on a plane that was about to take off for Spain. The Spanish man and Portuguese woman were handed over to the GGD health service.
A spokesperson for the Marechaussee, a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military, said the couple left a hotel in the Kennemerland region where travelers from South Africa who tested positive for Covid-19 are in isolation. Private security guards are at the hotel to ensure that guests who must remain in isolation also do so, said a spokesperson for Marianne Schuurmans, chair of the Kennemerland Security region and mayor of Haarlemmermeer.
Outside, the police and Marechaussee ensure that no one enters the hotel who has no business there. They also ensure that guests can enter and leave the hotel undisturbed. "The security is there for a reason," answered a spokesperson earlier on Sunday when asked whether they already had to take action to keep travelers who tested positive in their rooms. Travelers are initially requested to adhere to the isolation rules. If they do not, an obligation is imposed.
"The isolation works voluntarily," said a spokesperson for the GGD Kennemerland on Sunday. But if that is not tenable, we can decide to switch to forced isolation." According to him, this is possible based on the Police Data Act. "The chairman of the security region must then decide this." According to the spokesperson, it does not matter whether the passengers have contracted the new, more contagious Omikron variant for the further course of the isolation.
Mayor Schuurmans instituted the surveillance in consultation with the Public Prosecution Service (OM) and the GGD.
The Security Region could not say how many infected travelers from South Africa are still in the hotel. On Sunday afternoon, Caretaker Minister Hugo de Jonge (Public Health) said that "a large part" of the infected passengers are staying in the hotel. The security region noted that security would also remain there as long as guests are in isolation in the hotel. A person can only go home to isolate there if they have "protected transport."
The GGD tested a total of 624 passengers who arrived at Schiphol from South Africa on Friday for the coronavirus. 61 of them tested positive. The Omicron variant has been found in 13 people, but the investigation into all those who tested positive has not yet been completed.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.