The aerial photo taken on October 29, 2021 shows an aircraft parked on the tarmac at Schiphol Airport near Amsterdam.
Arthur Van Der Kooij | ANP | AFP via Getty Images
The Dutch health authorities said that 61 people who arrived in Amsterdam on two flights from South Africa on Friday tested positive for Covid-19, and they carried out further tests early Saturday to see if any of the infections with the recently discovered Omicron coronavirus variant takes place.
Around 600 passengers arrived on the two KLM flights at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on Friday and then had to wait for hours and test themselves due to concerns about the new virus variant.
The Dutch Ministry of Health announced early Saturday that 61 tests were positive.
“Travelers with a positive test result will be isolated in a hotel in or near Schiphol,” said the health authorities.
“From the positive test results, we will examine as quickly as possible whether it is the new questionable variant called ‘Omicron’.”
The Dutch government banned all air travel from southern Africa early Friday. Health Minister Hugo de Jonge decided that passengers who are already en route to the Netherlands must be tested and quarantined upon arrival.
Passengers on the two KLM flights from Cape Town and Johannesburg said they would wait for hours on the tarmac.
“Loud applause because a BUS has come to take us … somewhere,” tweeted New York Times journalist Stephanie Nolen, a passenger on the flight from Johannesburg, who later said she tested negative.
“Bus to a hall to a huge queue. I can see Covid testers in light blue PSA far away. Still no snacks for the sad babies,” she added in a second tweet.
A spokesman for health officials in Kennemerland, the Dutch region that oversees Schiphol, said the positive cases would be analyzed by an academic medical hospital to see if it was the new strain.
The new variant was discovered while many European countries are grappling with an increase in coronavirus cases.
The Dutch government separately announced nightly closings of bars, restaurants and most shops on Friday to contain a record wave of COVID-19 cases that is flooding their healthcare system.