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Couple Arrested After Leaving Quarantine Hotel

They tested positive after arriving in Amsterdam from South Africa Friday
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 29, 2021 2:39 PM CST
Couple Arrested on Plane After Leaving Dutch Quarantine
The hotel in Badhoevedorp near Schiphol Airport, Netherlands, where Dutch authorities have isolated 61 people who tested positive for COVID-19 on two arriving flights originating from South Africa, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

(Newser) – Dutch military police arrested a husband and wife Sunday who had left a hotel where they were being quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19 and boarded a plane to fly home to Spain. A spokeswoman for the local security authority that covers Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport said Monday that an investigation was underway into whether the couple had committed a crime and should be prosecuted. When authorities heard the couple had left the hotel, the head of the local security authority, Marianne Schuurmans, quickly signed an isolation order that empowered the Marechaussee police force to detain the couple, the AP reports.

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"Quarantine is not obligatory, but we assume people will act responsibly," spokeswoman Petra Faber said. "But there was a couple that wanted to go home and they tried to fly home. The Royal Marechaussee took them off the plane and handed them back to the local health authority." Faber said the couple are now in enforced isolation in a hospital in another part of the country. said. Authorities declined to say whether they had tested positive for the new omicron variant of the coronavirus. The couple, who made a stopover in Amsterdam on Friday after returning from a vacation in Cape Town, South Africa, said they appeared to have been caught up in the improvisation of travel rules that followed news of the new variant.

Carolina Pimenta said that Dutch authorities initially cleared her for travel after three days of isolation, instead of the mandatory five days, because she had already recovered from COVID-19 less than 6 months ago. But on Sunday she was arrested after boarding the plane that was supposed to take her to Spain. “We were transparent at all times, I showed all the documents, we entered (the plane) and suddenly they called me and the police very aggressively treated us like criminals when they had given us the go-ahead, all without informing us at all,” Pimenta told Spanish broadcaster TV3. (Some 61 passenger who arrived at Schiphol on two flights from South Africa Friday tested positive.)

(Read more COVID-19 stories.)

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