The couple, identified by AFP as a 30-year-old Spaniard and a 28-year-old Portuguese woman, reportedly arrived at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol from South Africa on Friday, where the new variant of the Omicron coronavirus was first identified and detected last week.
Marechausse, the Dutch military police, “this evening arrested a couple who had fled from a quarantine hotel,” police spokesman Stan Verberkt told CNN.
Marechausse did not specify whether either had tested positive for Covid. It is also unclear how police found out the couple had left their quarantine hotel.
The couple had been on one of two flights between South Africa and Amsterdam, where at least 61 passengers had tested positive for the virus, with 13 of those cases confirmed to be the Omicron variant.
The total 600 passengers on the two planes were quarantined at a hotel near the airport.
The couple were arrested “(on board) of a plane that was about to take off for Spain at 6:00 p.m. local time (12:00 p.m. ET) and the two people were transferred to the GGD (Dutch regional health authority). Added Verberkt. .
Dutch authorities will decide whether the couple will face charges of endangering public safety.
GGD spokeswoman Stefanie van Waardenburg confirmed the couple were among the passengers on a flight that landed at Schiphol from Johannesburg on Friday.
The health authority is carrying out more tests on passengers to see if some are carrying the new Omicron variant, Waardenburg added.
The Netherlands are among the countries that have imposed a flight ban in the southern African region (including South Africa) following reports of the new variant.
Top image: Appointment desk for Covid tests at Schiphol airport. Credit: Paulo Amorim / Sipa USA