9 percent of tested travelers arriving from South Africa infected with coronavirus
About 9 percent of airline passengers who arrived in the Netherlands from South Africa and were tested for coronavirus received a positive result. The percentage is the average result of tests from the past five days. The statistic was reported by the Kennemerland branch of the GGD municipal health service, which put out an urgent call for all such passengers to get tested at Schiphol Airport if the Netherlands is their final destination.
Out of the hundreds of people arriving from there per day, roughly one-third actually get tested for the infection. It is unclear how many of those who tested positive were infected with the newly-discovered Omicron variant.
Every day a few hundred people land at Schiphol on flights which originated in Cape Town or Johannesburg. The number of total passengers on board daily "varies from three hundred to eight hundred or a thousand people," according to a spokesperson for the GGD Kennemerland. A few hundred of them will remain in the Netherlands. They can be tested for coronavirus at a location at the airport. All travelers on the flights also have to be pre-screened in South Africa.
"Despite testing before the start of the flight, and the fact that the majority of passengers are probably vaccinated, an average of 9 percent appears to have a coronavirus infection once they arrive. This shows that the virus spreads easily and that is cause for concern," said Bert van de Velden, director of the GGD Kennemerland.
In order to keep the spread of the virus under control, he believes it is "of the utmost importance" that travelers "also get themselves tested after arrival at Schiphol if they continue their journey in the Netherlands.” The GGD has been offering this option since Sunday.
Reporting by ANP