The travel industry has been all abuzz with the two KLM flights from South Africa that had 61 people who tested positive for COVID, 13 of which had the Omicron variant.
The world has more questions than answers about the new variant, but COVID is COVID and those who tested positive upon landing in the Netherlands were required to quarantine.
They are being held at a hotel near Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport. A typical “airport hotel” with a clientele that’s usually conference attendees or passengers whose flights are late, local taxi drivers had taken to calling it the “Corona Hotel” and the “Hotel Omicron.”
However a day or two after being forced into quarantine a husband and wife escaped from the boxy, concrete Ramada Inn.
The couple, a 30-year-old Spaniard named Andres Sanz and a 28-year-old Portuguese woman named Carolina Pimenta got caught up in the “improvisation” of travel rules that followed news of the new variant. They vacationed in South Africa and Amsterdam was just supposed to be a stopover on their way back to Spain.
Pimenta tested positive. However, she claimed that after days of requesting a re-test, on top of two negative self-tests, a Dutch health authority official and a security officer at the quarantine hotel told them they could leave and wouldn’t get into trouble for doing so. She said they cleared her for travel after three days of isolation, instead of the mandatory five days, because she had already recovered from Covid-19 less than six months ago.
On Sunday, the two were apprehended on board a Spain-bound plane at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, according to the border police.
“The suggestion that we escaped from quarantine is too ridiculous for words. Nobody told us what the rules are, we were treated like dogs,” said Pimenta, who said she was a biomedical researcher.
“Not a hair on my mind would think of doing something that would endanger the health of others. I know how important it is that everyone abide by the rules in this crisis,” she was quoted as saying by the RTL.
The couple was removed just before the plane took off. Pimenta claimed that border police removed them from the flight onto the tarmac, adding that she was taken “with much fuss and screaming … like a criminal.”
The Netherlands is a country that prides itself on its respect for personal freedoms. However most people are trusted to do the right thing and, in theory, are policed only by individual responsibility.
“In the Netherlands, it is not illegal to be outside when you have been tested positive [for] Covid. But when you go into a plane knowing you have it, then it is another story,” said Petra Faber, spokeswoman for the local security authority that covers Schiphol Airport. “Quarantine is not obligatory, but we assume people will act responsibly,” she continued.
“It is a crazy situation that they decided to leave the hotel. We are very disappointed. They endangered everyone around them and our public health in general.”
“We were hoping for people to be sensible.”
Sanz and Pimenta are now being held at a hospital, in isolation. Local officials are in the midst of determining whether or not their actions were a crime.
Feature Photo: Ramada by Wyndham Amsterdam Airport Schiphol
Want to comment on this post? Great! Read this first to help ensure it gets approved.
Want to sponsor a post, write something for Your Mileage May Vary or put ads on our site? Click here for more info.
Like this post? Please share it! We have plenty more just like it and would love it if you decided to hang around and sign up to get emailed notifications of when we post.
Whether you’ve read our articles before or this is the first time you’re stopping by, we’re really glad you’re here and hope you come back to visit again!
This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary