Delay in arresting quarantine breakers due to lack of legal ground, mayor says
The reason a couple who tested positive for Covid and escaped the quarantine hotel was only arrested once they were sitting on a plane about to take off was a lack of legal ground to detain them before that. "We really did not expect that people would flee," Mayor Marianne Schuurmans of Haarlemmermeer said to Goedemorgen Nederland.
The couple had landed at Schiphol from South Africa on Friday. They tested positive for Covid-19 and were taken to a hotel in Badhoevedorp to quarantine. They fled the hotel and wanted to catch a plane to Spain. The Koninklijke Marechaussee, a policing force that works as part of the Dutch military, arrested them on that plane on Sunday.
"There is security at the hotel, but people stay there completely voluntarily," Schuurmans said on the radio program. "Security guards advised the couple not to leave, but there was no legal ground to hold them yet. As mayor and chairman of the Security Region, I still had to arrange that at the time. We really did not expect that people would flee."
The arrangement to detain quarantine breakers was only in place when the couple was already on the plane, which is why the Koninklijke Marechaussee could only arrest them at this last moment. "I have given orders to keep them in isolation, and that is now mandatory," the mayor said. "It is a very strict measure, but it is necessary because it is dangerous what they wanted to do."
It also means that anyone else trying to leave the quarantine hotel can be stopped immediately, she added.
The couple is now in mandatory isolation in a hospital in the Netherlands, a spokesperson for Schuurmans told NOS. It is unclear whether they are in a hospital isolation room due to symptoms or possible escape risk.