Dutch Authorities Find 61 Covid Cases on Two Flights from South Africa

By Kurt Stolz on 27 November 2021
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Health officials in the Netherlands said Saturday that one in ten passengers on two flights that arrived at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport from South Africa on Friday tested positive for Covid-19 amidst news of a new and possibly more transmissible variant of the virus.

Sixty-one of the 600 passengers and crew tested positive, although health officials did not know if any of the passengers had the new variant as of Saturday morning.

The flights had arrived before air traffic from countries in southern Africa was halted.

The news comes just as the Dutch government announced a partial lockdown, a nighttime closure of restaurants, bars, and most stores as it attempts to stem the spread of the coronavirus amidst a record-breaking number of new cases that is overwhelming the country’s healthcare system.

The Ministerie van Volksgezondheid, Welzijn en Sport, or Dutch health ministry, said it conducting additional tests to see if any of the passengers were infected with the new Omicron variant that appears to have originated in southern Africa.  The results were not expected, a spokesman said, until late Saturday.

The findings that 61 passengers had tested positive upon arrival came as a surprise given that the airline, according to its website, requires passengers to present a negative rapid-antigen Covid test result in order to fly.

The arriving passengers were kept on the two aircraft, one which came in from Johannesburg and one from Cape Town, for hours and were kept isolated in the terminal once they deplaned.  The passengers who tested positive were quarantined in a nearby hotel.

Passengers who were on the flights posted on social media that compliance with face mask rules was not enforced

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

Accura News

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