AMSTERDAM, Nov 29 (Reuters) - A couple caught trying to
escape from COVID-19 quarantine in the Netherlands after testing
positive for the coronavirus have been transferred to a hospital
where they were being held in isolation, an official said on
The pair, a Spanish man and Portuguese woman, left the hotel
where travellers who tested positive for the virus were staying
after arriving at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport from South
"They have now been transferred to a hospital elsewhere in
the Netherlands to ensure they are in isolation. They are now in
so-called forced isolation," said Petra Faber, spokesperson for
Haarlemmermeer municipality, where Schiphol is located just
outside of the capital.
"We don't know who tested positive for the new variant and
we wouldn't say because of privacy," Faber said.
The couple fled the hotel on Sunday and had boarded a plane
to Spain when they were detained by military police at the
airport, said Faber. They were among 61 out of the more than 600
passengers who arrived on two flights from Johannesburg and Cape
Town on Friday and tested positive for COVID-19.
At least 13 of those infected have the newly identified
Omicron variant of the virus, Dutch health authorities said on
Security at the hotel has in the meantime been increased to
ensure the quarantined guests stay in their rooms. It is being
guarded by regular police and military police.
The discovery of Omicron, dubbed a "variant of concern" by
the World Health Organization, has sparked worries https://www.reuters.com/world/new-coronavirus-variant-omicron-keeps-spreading-australia-detects-cases-2021-11-28
around the world that it could resist vaccinations and prolong
the nearly two-year-old COVID-19 pandemic.
Dutch authorities are also seeking to contact and test some
5,000 other passengers who have travelled from South Africa,
Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia or Zimbabwe.
In the Netherlands, tougher COVID-19 measures https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/netherlands-impose-new-covid-measures-avoid-healthcare-breakdown-2021-11-26
went into effect on Sunday to curb record daily infection rates
of more than 20,000 and ease pressure on hospitals.
(Reporting by Stephanie van den Berg and Anthony Deutsch,
Editing by William Maclean)