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61 people who arrived in Amsterdam yesterday on flights from South Africa have tested positive for Covid-19, according to Dutch officials. You can hear what the passengers were told in the video below.
The passengers who came in on two flights have now been placed into isolation in a hotel near to the capital’s Schiphol airport.
In total, around 600 passengers were held for several hours after touching down in the country whilst they were tested for the virus, as the officials in The Netherlands – and elsewhere – are increasingly concerned about the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus, which was named as a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation on Friday.
It was first observed in South Africa on November 24, and has led many countries to place travel restrictions on South Africa and several close neighbours.
The United Kingdom was one of the countries to place South Africa, as well as Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Eswatini, and Namibia.
The Netherlands is currently in a partial lockdown as the country – along with many in Europe – attempts to stop rising cases of Covid-19.
That lockdown, which forces all hospitality venues to close between 5:00pm and 5:00am, has been extended until at least December 19.
Two KLM flights arrived in Amsterdam yesterday carrying passengers from South Africa, by which point the Dutch government had already introduced rules restricting travel from the region.
Now, the Dutch health authority has confirmed that 61 people from the flights have tested negative.
In a statement, the organisation said: "The positive test results will be examined as soon as possible to determine whether this concerns the new worrisome variant, which has since been given the name Omicron variant,"
The statement confirmed that those who have tested positive will be kept in quarantine for seven days if they are showing symptoms, and five days if not.
Those who tested negative have been asked to quarantine for five days and undergo further testing, although those who were changing flights – including to Manchester – have been allowed to continue their journey.
Although, it has been reported that some were provided with no written confirmation of a negative test, and therefore have been unable to board their connecting flights.
Some of the passengers who were held on the tarmac have said that they were left without food or water for several hours whilst the arrangements for testing and isolating were sorted.
New York Times correspondent Stephanie Nolen said tweeted that they weren’t even brought water whilst they were stuck on the plane.
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