Dutch security forces have arrested a couple, reportedly with the latest coronavirus variant Omicron, at the airport, trying to fly to Spain after fleeing a coronavirus quarantine hotel, officials said on Monday.
Police at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport on Sunday “arrested a couple this evening who had fled a quarantine hotel,” Dutch military forces, also known as Marechaussee, said on Twitter.
“The arrests took place in a plane that was about to take off,” it said, adding that both persons, Spanish and Portuguese nationals, have been transferred to the public health authority in the Netherlands.
The couple was among 61 passengers that came from South Africa on Nov. 26 and tested positive on COVID-19, while 13 of them had been reported to be carrying the new coronavirus variant Omicron, according to local media.
The Netherlands is one of several countries that has closed its borders to those coming from more than half a dozen southern African nations over fears of the new variant.
This week, South African scientists announced that they had detected the Omicron variant, which has several mutations that may carry the risk of reinfection. The new strain was first detected in neighboring Botswana on Nov. 11, and later in Hong Kong.
The World Health Organization On Friday declared it a "variant of concern," naming it Omicron.