A married couple that had tested positive for COVID-19 was apprehended by Dutch police this weekend after they managed to sneak out of the local quarantine hotel. According to a local report from Dutch newspaper Het Parool, the pair were arrested onboard just moments before their plane was set to head to Spain from Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
According to Het Parool’s report, the couple — a Spanish man and a Portuguese woman, both unnamed — had left the hotel around 6 P.M. yesterday, after which the Marechaussee, aka the local military police, was alerted about the escapees. Not long after, the two were arrested onboard their plane “almost silently and without violence,” a Marechaussee spokesperson told the paper.
This news comes in the midst of increased alarm across the EU about the Omicron coronavirus variant that has cropped up across The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, and other regions since its discovery last week. While it’s unclear whether this couple had come down with the new variant, it’s worth noting that they were among the roughly 600 passengers that had landed in Amsterdam from South Africa, where Omicron was first identified. Among those hundreds of passengers, 61 tested positive for COVID-19, and 13 of them tested positive for the Omicron variant.
At least one of the pair had tested positive for coronavirus after touching down in Amsterdam, after which they were put into isolation in a local quarantine hotel along with other travellers from South Africa.
Marianne Schuurmans, mayor of Haarlemmermeer where the hotel is located, told another local outlet that her department “really did not expect that people would flee.”
“There is security at the hotel, but people stay there completely voluntarily,” she went on. “Security guards advised the couple not to leave, but there was no legal ground to hold them yet. As mayor and chairman of the Security Region, I still had to arrange that at the time.”
Apparently, by the time the city had put together the arrangement to detain quarantine escapees, the couple were already on the plane, and about to take off. After local police pulled them off the plane, the two were popped into a local hospital to enforce the rest of their quarantine. Hopefully, the incident gets other would-be quarantine-breakers to reconsider before they make an escape.