Couple released from forced quarantine tied to Omicron coronavirus fears
The Spanish/Portuguese couple that was forced into quarantine no longer has to remain isolated in a room in Haren, Groningen. Their release was confirmed by the Public Prosecution Service (OM) for the Northern Netherlands on Tuesday.
The OM decided to allow this because the two tested negative for coronavirus. Earlier on Tuesday, the couple's lawyer announced that they had been released after the OM disclosed their decision about the couple to him. "Clients will immediately take a taxi to the consulate, where they will be assisted on their repatriation to Spain."
The Portuguese woman and Spanish man were asked to quarantine in a hotel near Schiphol Airport on Sunday, because the woman had tested positive for coronavirus after they arrived on a flight from South Africa. Dozens of passengers were moved to a hotel where they could self-isolate after it became known that the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus was discovered in South Africa.
However, the two left that hotel despite requests to remain there. The Haarlemmermeer mayor then issued an order for the two to be detained as a public health risk. Military personnel from the Marechaussee then removed the couple from a plane and transferred them to the GGD. They were placed in forced quarantine at the University Medical Center Groningen’s Beatrixoord location in Haren.
Earlier on Tuesday, the OM was considering the necessity of an extension to their quarantine. In the end, a request for this was not necessary, because the woman tested negative for a second time on November 29, the OM said. The man had also tested negative twice. As a result, the conditions were not met to continue the forced quarantine.
A total of 61 people were told to quarantine out of 624 who arrived from South Africa on Friday. They all tested positive for the coronavirus infection, with 14 found to be infected with the Omicron variant. Private security guards at the hotel ensure that the guests who have to remain in isolation also adhere to this.
As it turns out, at least two others were found to have been infected with the Omicron variant before those airplanes arrived. One was tested on November 19, and the other on November 23. One of the two did not have a recent travel history, according to the RIVM, while the other had been in Southern Africa.
Reporting by ANP.